Parkes Observatory, just outside the central-west NSW town of Parkes, hosts the 64-metre Parkes radio telescope, one telescope comprising CSIRO’s Australia Telescope National Facility. An icon of Australian science, the Parkes radio telescope has been in operation since 1961 and continues to be at the forefront of astronomical discovery thanks to regular upgrades. Astronomers from across Australia and around the world utilise the Parkes radio telescope to undertake world-class astronomical science. Affectionately known as ’the Dish’, the telescope operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
The Parkes Observatory (also known informally as “The Dish”) is a radio telescope observatory, located 20 kilometres (12 mi) north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia. It was one of several radio antennae used to receive live television images of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. Its scientific contributions over the decades led the ABC to describe it as “the most successful scientific instrument ever built in Australia” after 50 years of operation.
The Parkes Observatory is run by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), as part of the Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF) network of radio telescopes. It is frequently operated together with other CSIRO radio telescopes, principally the array of six 22-metre (72 ft) dishes at the Australia Telescope Compact Array near Narrabri, and a single 22-metre (72 ft) dish at Mopra (near Coonabarabran), to form a very long baseline interferometry array.
The observatory was included on the Australian National Heritage List on 10 August 2020.
The observatory takes a major role in the downloading and interpretation of the signal from Delta Pavonis.