Do you want to use a giant radio telescope and observe some of the most extreme objects in the Universe? You can! You’ll control the Parkes radio telescope, Murriyang, observe and analyse pulsars and meet our astronomers.
In PULSE@Parkes your students use the iconic 64m Parkes radio telescope, Murriyang, remotely in real time to observe pulsars. Students experience observational astronomy, analyse their data and meet our astronomers.
New sessions now open
Applications are now open for sessions for October 2023 to March 2024. These free sessions can be held remotely so […]
Virtual work experience
PULSE@Parkes will be the focus of students from across Australia taking part in CSIRO’s Virtual Work Experience Program. The students […]
The Parkes radio telescope
10 Facts About The Dish
- The selection of the Parkes telescope site took several years and had to fulfill key technical requirements, such as a stable geology and low radio-frequency interference.
- It took three years to design and two years to build the telescope; it was officially opened on 31 October 1961.
- The moving part of the telescope, above the concrete tower, weighs 1000 tonnes – more than two Boeing 747 aircraft. This moving part is not fixed to the top of the tower but just sits on it.
- The telescope only receives signals from space, but never sends them.
- Because the large surface of the dish catches the wind like a sail, the telescope must be 'stowed' (pointed directly up) when the wind speed exceeds 35 kilometres an hour.
- It can detect radio waves from seven millimetres to four metres long, and be pointed with an accuracy of better than 11 arcseconds – about the width of a finger seen 150 metres away.
- The telescope operates twenty four hours per day, through rain and cloud.
- About 85 per cent of all time each year is scheduled for observing. Less than five per cent of that time is lost because of high winds or equipment problems. Most of the rest of the time each year is used for maintenance and testing.
- Over half of all known pulsars were discovered using this telescope.
- In 2020 local Wiradjuri elders gave the 64-metre telescope the name Murriyang, which represents the 'Skyworld' where a prominent creator spirit of the Wiradjuri Dreaming, Biyaami (Baiame), lives. Two smaller telescopes at CSIRO's Parkes Observatory also received Wiradjuri names.
The Parkes radio telescope is part of the Australia Telescope National Facility which is funded by the Australian Government for operation as a National Facility managed by CSIRO. We acknowledge the Wiradjuri people as the traditional owners of the Observatory site.