We left Dubbo and travelled to Parkes, NSW
I guess you could say that we travelled at the wrong time of the year, as all the canola had been harvested. I have heard that when the fields are in full bloom that they are stunning. Fields of yellow for as far as you can see. I guess we might have to go back through there in about September one year.
We drove into the outskirts of Parkes and stopped in at the Dish. Plenty of parking for caravans so do not feel that you cannot just pop in there while towing the van.
The garden out the front is stunning, and allows you to have a bit of a play with two dishes that are placed at either side of the garden. I stood in one, while the kids when and spoke into the other one. It was funny listening to the echo…the kids were whispering (unusual concept for kids, I know) and I could hear them clear as day.
We went inside and wow, what an interesting display. We watched three short films about the dish, the building of it, the uses in history and the future of the dish. It is amazing that space produces so many sounds.
The one thing that Liam keeps telling everyone is that the sun is getting bigger and bigger every year. It is a burning ball that thanks to heat is slowing growing bigger. There were so many facts and figures during the films, that we all walked away feeling very small compared to the sizes of the other planets and particularly the sun.
The dish was pointing straight up to the sky, and this was because it was in maintenance mode. Apparently there are certain times every year when the dish is placed into maintenance mode. I guess like all equipment, it needs to be looked after and serviced.
There was a great display, where we read about the first landing on the moon. The fact that this dish played such an important role, in a significant event is mind blowing. What was really mind blowing, was that the dish and the scientists and staff were seriously tested during this event, no thanks to Mother Nature. You see, the dish cannot operate in very high winds, however on the day of the moon landing, the only dish in the world that was able to cover the majority of the landing was the dish in Parkes, but the winds were at over 110km an hour. The decision was made to keep working, and to keep the lines of communication open between NASA and the astronaut,
There was a small room that had a great photographic display…photos takes of the stars, planets, solar eclipses and other significant events of the sky. They were stunning, and well worth a viewing.
We left the dish and paid a visit to Ivan and Joan Halloran. They are Pete’s brother’s in-laws. David past away a few years ago now, and is still sorely missed by the whole family.
What a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Ivan kept us entertained with his stories from when he was in the NSW Police, and Joan had made some lovely little snacks for afternoon tea. We had not seen them since the middle of 2014 when their granddaughter, and David’s daughter, got married. Joan was shocked by how much the kids had grown and changed since then. Mia was no longer the little flower girls from the wedding, she is a big girl now and too tall for her age.
Thank you Ivan and Joan for the lovely visit. It was nice to spend time with family.