Central West

New South Wales

Wiradjuri Country

Parkes' (Murriyang) Role in Space

Parkes' (Murriyang) Role in Space

Parkes' (Murriyang) Role in Space

At 12.56 pm on 21 July 1969 Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), we got to witness man taking 'one giant leap' for mankind during the Apollo 11 Moon landing. When Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the Moon 600 million people were watching & listening to this historical moment made significantly possible by the Parkes Observatory radio telescope receiving the transmission.

Parkes Observatory is a radio telescope observatory is owned and operated by Australia’s national science agency – CSIRO.  It is located 380 km from Sydney and 20 km north of Parkes. 

Parkes (Murriyang), with a diameter of 64m,  is one of the largest single-dish telescopes in the southern hemisphere dedicated to astronomy.  Parkes started operating in 1961 & has been operating for over 60 years. Thanks to regular upgrades its basic structure has remained unchanged.  It continues to be at the forefront of discovery.  The telescope is now 10,000 times more sensitive than when it was first commissioned.

Parkes Observatory radio telescope

Australia Telescope National Facility

Parkes Observatory is a radio telescope & one of four instruments that make up the Australia Telescope National Facility.  Its large dish surface makes the Parkes telescope very sensitive and ideally suited to finding pulsars, rapidly spinning neutron stars the size of a small city.  Parkes telescope is responsible for finding almost half of the more than 2000 known pulsars discovered so far.  The telescope operates twenty four hours per day, through rain and cloud.

National Heritage List

In August 2020 Parkes (Murriyang) Observatory became the first functioning scientific instrument to be added to the National Heritage List.  Parkes is a key part of Australia’s scientific capability.  While the telescope is old enough to qualify for the National Heritage List, it continues to operate as one of the world’s leading astronomy instruments with the most advanced radio receiver systems in the world.

Visitor Discovery Centre

 Visit the observatory and learn about the radio telescope.  The Visitor Discovery Centre, where visitors can explore the world of astronomy & listen to the stars, is located in the shadow of the Dish.   It features many displays, hands on exhibits and a 3D theatre featuring programs on space and astronomy.


23 Mar 2022

Other Things to See in New South Wales

  • Art Gallery of NSW

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  • Bare Island

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  • Bondi Pavillion

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  • Luna Park

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  • Scenic World Skyway

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  • St Mary's Cathedral

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