The Dish

| | Comments (2)
Sorry this entry has *heaps* of pictures... Give up now if you're not interested :)

So Friday afternoon I left work super early and headed off into uncharted territory (Lachlan Valley Way - which I don't think I've ever been on in my life before!) and headed north.

Lachlan Valley Way
It's a three and a quarter hour drive to Parkes, but amazingly pretty (compared to the Hume Highway to Sydney which is quite boring for a lot of it).  Had the road to myself for a lot of it, and the sweetie had given me some podcasts to listen to, so was a great drive.

Lachlan Valley Way
Lachlan Valley Way
Well that is until the bugs got so bad I couldn't see out the windscreen anymore..

Windscreen bugs
Ha!  That's where the bogans come from!

Bogan Gate
I arrived at my motel at 6:40pm, and had to wait while they tried to find the room key.  Had just barely enough time to dump my stuff and go to the loo before Tony and family picked me up to go to dinner.  We went to Bellas in town which had good reviews.  And we all agreed, the food was delicious.  Although I did eat too much and it meant I took forever to get to sleep!

"Pollo Insalata" - proscuitto line chicken breast served on baby spinach and sweet roasted pumpkin with roasted hazelnut butter and crumbled fetta
Pollo Insalata at Bellas, Parkes
Fountain next to my motel, by night

Parkes fountain
Watched a bit of The Mummy Returns while waiting for dinner to settle.

Saturday morning it was foggy.  The motel also had a couple of police teams staying the night, apparently to cover the roads to Bathurst.

Police staying at the motel
Parkes fountain
Train
We were going to have breakfast at Tony's motel, but they don't do breakfasts on weekends.  (?????????)  Lame. So went into town and found an open cafe, and I had bacon, eggs and a hash brown.  It was bigger than I expected but did keep me going all day.

So off to The Dish!!

It was still foggy, but that made for some cool photos.

The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
We wandered through the visitors' centre and joined the queue for the telescope tours.  I think we had to wait maybe three quarters of an hour?  The queue length really didn't change the entire day.

They did have astronauts on segways, classic cars arriving, and Einstein to keep the crowds entertained..

Jess and an astronaut
Classic cars
Einstein
The tour was pretty cool.  

We got to climb up a temporary staircase on the outside to the outside platform.

Azimuth track
Hydraulic stuff
Jacks
Support structure

Here's a view you can't see every day!!

View from The Dish
View from The Dish
Then you climb *into* the top of the dish support.

The Dish cabling
And down into the control room!

The Dish control room
The Dish control room
Shielding on the windows
The Dish control room
What time is it?
The Dish control room
There were even some real astronomers doing some real observing.  Well so they say, I don't know what sort of results they would have gotten with all the people around with mobile phones and video cameras, and moving the dish around all the time..

Astronomers
And finally out the front door

The Dish front door
Next we had a wander down the train tracks past the old Kennedy Antenna (not in use anymore)

Kennedy Antenna
A quick look back at The Dish at a different angle

The Dish
Past the earth-air heat exchanger.  This is where they take outside air, then pump it underground for eighty metres to get the air to a constant temperature and into the twelve metre dish they have setup for testing for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

Earth-air heat exchanger
Twelve metre dish setup for Square Kilometre Array testing

SKA dish
A Lego version of the SKA (not accurate - the real thing will be a lot more "random")

Lego SKA
Then headed back up and had a look around at the classic cars.

Old Holdens
One of them gave us quite a surprise - it had wallaby joeys in it!!

Wallaby joey
The dish from another angle

Family photo
The Dish
Then it was time for the official ceremony.  So they brought the dish down till it almost touched the ground.  So low in fact that it nearly took out a bottlebrush tree as they swung it round.

How low can you go?
How low can you go?
How low can you go?
They attached a banner to The Dish and raised it up during the official speeches by Prof Phillip Diamond (head of CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science) (I think) and Dr Megan Clarke (Head of CSIRO).

The Dish - 50 years old!
They also had one of the sopranos for the night's opera lead a chorus of Happy Birthday (Helen Barnett I think)

The Dish - 50 years old!
Then Jess went off to make some Sandtastic art, so I wandered around and took photos as the sun was coming out.

The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
This is Jess' sandtastic art - it's just a sticky bit of card with all these stencils you pull off one at a time and cover with coloured sand.  Sand sticks to the card and you shake off the excess.  Way cool!

Sandtastic art
I didn't play cricket on The Dish..  I think maybe I shoulda bought one of these! :)

The Dish squishy ball
Another wander while Jess made a paper SKA

The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
Jess and her paper SKA dish

Jess and SKA dish
Jess and SKA dish
SKA dishes
There were a bunch of people there from the Central West Astronomical Society, some of them with telescopes pointed at the sun.  Which has some super awesome sunspots going on at the moment!

Sunspots
Then had a look in the receiver room.  I never realised that they actually change the receivers all the time!  Takes them a few hours to change them over.  Dad would have loved all this stuff - he would have understood what the dude was talking about :) These are some of the receivers actually in use at the telescope!

Receivers
Finally we headed back through the visitors' centre to have a look at the displays.

This is a panel that they made up for the movie The Dish (2000) and donated to CSIRO afterwards.

Panel used in the movie The Dish
It's only a model! Shh!

The Dish model
We stopped at a couple of lookout places on the way out.

The Dish from a distance
The Dish from a distance
Then into Parkes to see the War Memorial.  It's supposed to be a lookout, but it was all locked up and nothing there to say it ever opened.  What's the point of a lookout if you can't go up it?  Too many trees around to have any views of the town, so that was a bit fail.

Parkes War Memorial
Then headed to Forbes for a late lunch.  There were like two places open in the entire town, one of them being Subway, so that's what we had.  Then filled the car with petrol and headed home, arriving a bit before 7pm.

So yeah a super fun day away.  Pity the sweetie bailed (still feeling too sick).  We might have gone to Dubbo for the Sunday, but those plans had to be cancelled.  Thanks Tony/Heather/Jess for putting up with me! :)

2 Comments

Lisa (bakebikeblog) said:

What a fun adventure!

October 12, 2011 8:24 AM

   

Tony said:

Thanks for coming, it was fun to have you along! Your photos are great too :-)

October 16, 2011 9:28 PM

   

Leave a comment

Kazza's "Boring Life Of a Geek" aka BLOG

IT geek, originally from Sydney, moved to Canberra in 2007. Married to "the sweetie", aka Stu. Prolific photographer, Lego junkie and tropical fish keeper.

Kazza the Blank One home