Chris and Dave's Midlife Crisis travel blog

Parkes Radio Telescope

View from Hallam Wall

Our journey continues, south-ish, via places such as Parkes, Forbes, Orange, Bathurst.

As we travel further south, we notice that the terrain and landscape is changing considerably, it is becoming much greener and not nearly so flat. Consequently, it is much more attractive to drive through, (some of the views are a little bit like parts of England, but a lot bigger, as they go on for ever!)

Just before Parkes, at a place called Peak Hill, we visited a disused gold mine - actually it is a huge quarry, since the gold was mined pretty much from seams near the surface. It is now just an absolutely massive hole in the ground with a small lake in the bottom, but, for all that, it is quite attractive because the sides are so colourful (due to the presence of various different minerals), and it puts Alum Bay on the Isle of Wight into the shade a bit! There is also a lot of information to read about the lengthy and complex (not to say, expensive!) process for "refining" the gold which they extract. Apparently it involves adding cyanide for one thing!

Further on, at a place called Parkes, is a giant radio telescope. There is a visitor centre where curious people (like me) can soak up a massive amount of info and knowledge, only to forget most of it as soon as they drive off! However, I can remember that the telescope is ultra, ultra sensitive and can pick up the weakest of electrical signals 100,000s of light years away. It is world famous and used by scientists the world over, apparently, they only have to come up with some worthwhile research project to be allocated time there!

Even more amazing, is the fact that, during the moon landings, it was the radio telescope which was used to receive the messages back from the moon, which they then relayed to the USA, who then transmitted them throughout the world (and took all the credit!).

Oh, yes, and one evening we had a BBQ - in the rain! Hard to believe, I know, but it really made us feel at home anyway!

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