Parkes Radio Telescope, Parkes, Australia

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The Dish

If you find yourself in the land down under (or just happen to be lucky enough to live there), then there’s one landmark that shouldn’t be missed, because it’s the star of a movie that is all about science. The film is The Dish , and its star is the Parkes Radio Telescope (Figure 1-1).


Figure 1-1. The Dish; courtesy of Alex Cheal (alexcheal)

Halfway between Melbourne and Brisbane, and 20 kilometers north of the small town of Parkes, stands the gracefully curved dish that since 1961 has been listening to the southern sky for radio transmissions.

It was the Parkes Radio Telescope’s role in picking up transmissions from the Apollo 11 moon landing that made it a movie star. When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, their transmission of telemetry and television pictures was initially sent to the Goldstone Observatory ...

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