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RE: Parkes radio telescope
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From moon-landing history to an Elvis festival, Dugald Jellie finds the weird and wonderful at the 'crossroads of the nation'.
First it was The Castle. Then Rob Sitch and his Working Dog troupe turned their laconic wit to central NSW and a radio telescope "in the middle of a sheep paddock". The result was The Dish, a delightful Australian story of man's landing on the moon in July 1969 and the grainy black-and-white images broadcast on television that put Parkes on the map.

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Parkes Pulsar Timing Array
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Title: The Parkes Pulsar Timing Array
Authors: R. N. Manchester

Detection and study of gravitational waves from astrophysical sources is a major goal of current astrophysics. Ground-based laser-interferometer systems such as LIGO and VIRGO are sensitive to gravitational waves with frequencies of order 100 Hz, whereas space-based systems such as LISA are sensitive in the millihertz regime. Precise timing observations of a sample of millisecond pulsars widely distributed on the sky have the potential to detect gravitational waves at nanohertz frequencies. Potential sources of such waves include binary super-massive black holes in the cores of galaxies, relic radiation from the inflationary era and oscillations of cosmic strings. The Parkes Pulsar Timing Array (PPTA) is an implementation of such a system in which 20 millisecond pulsars have been observed using the Parkes radio telescope at three frequencies at intervals of two -- three weeks for more than two years. Analysis of these data has been used to limit the gravitational wave background in our Galaxy and to constrain some models for its generation. The data have also been used to investigate fluctuations in the interstellar and Solar-wind electron density and have the potential to investigate the stability of terrestrial time standards and the accuracy of solar-system ephemerides.

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Parkes Radio Telescope  
PA3908_th2.jpg
Image credit CSIRO
 
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The first step on the moon by Neil Armstrong was received by the Parkes Radio Telescope.
Parkes, Australia.


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Monday 21st July 1969

The Apollo 11 Lunar Module, “Eagle”, touched down on the Sea of Tranquility on the morning of Monday 21st July 1969, Australian time.
Madrid and Goldstone were tracking during the Powered Descent and landing – which took place at 6:18am Eastern Australian time.
At 8:45am, Australian Prime Minister John Gorton paid a hastily arranged visit to Honeysuckle Creek to see the part this Australian station was playing in this most historic mission.

parkes

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-- Edited by Blobrana at 16:00, 2006-07-14

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The Parkes radio telescope, is one of the biggest in the southern hemisphere. It was completed in 1961 and has operated almost continuously to the present day.
The movie "The Dish" starring Sam Neill was based on the Parkes telescope's key role in the Apollo 11 Moon landing.
It has a dish of 64 metres in diameter and weighs 1000 tons.
The surface is high precision aluminium millimetre wavepanels to a diameter of 17-m (for operation to 43 GHz), then perforated aluminium plate out to 45-m, and rectangular galvanised steel mesh for the remainder of the surface. The aerial cabin, which houses feeds and receiver equipment, is supported by a tripod.
It is situated near Alectown, 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes.


Position: Latitude = 32° 59' 59.866" south, longitude = 148° 15' 44.359" east, elevation = 392 m.



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