Wednesday, September 12, 2012
CSIRO's Parkes radio telescope is a 64 metre diameter parabolic dish used for radio astronomy.
Australia’s famous Dish, that played a role during ‘Man’s Walk On The Moon’ expedition is very well known to us down under and even has a movie made about it.
In all honesty though, I felt that we could possibly be driving hundreds of miles to see this thing and simply wind up very disappointed.
The drive from Jenolan to Parkes was quite spectacular though, with bright yellow canola farms as far as the eye can see, certainly makes for some pretty colourful scenery.
Can you see where we are headed? This thing really appears to be in the middle of no where.
There it is! Yay! And there is a Visitors Discovery Centre attached, even better.
Out front are two largish white dishes facing each other a couple of hundred metres apart.
Whispering Dishes, so much fun. Simply turn and face the dish, speak into it quietly and your friend standing at the other dish can hear you perfectly. The kids could’ve played here for hours. This experience alone was nearly worth the drive to Parkes, it blew their minds!
Inside the visitor’s centre we are instantly met with large scale informational boards and their souvenir store, which sells all manner of ‘sciencey’ things.
Detailed information about the role The Dish played in the Apollo 11 Mission gives Lego Lover a better understanding.
Little Surfer Dude loved this interactive dish model, that he could turn as much as he wished.
The visitor’s centre is chocked full of information, all of which is very well presented. Scattered throughout the room are also a few smaller interactive activities to keep younger children entertained.
Entry to the visitors centre is free. They do offer a 30 minute 3D documentary which we found interesting.($20 family) It showed Mars exploration and gave us a much closer look at the ‘little things’ in outer space – comets and asteroids.
The documentary did not hold the interest of our younger two, though Lego Lover (10) thoroughly enjoyed it.
Outside we spent a considerable amount of time just watching the dish being maneuvered in all myriad of directions.
One of the guides informed us that this treat simply doesn’t happy every day.
So we were pretty lucky to be able to take photographs of the dish from many different angles.
The Dish Cafe, situated just outside from the visitors centre prepared us a lovely lunch too.