Beyond The Dish

Just packing so I can be up early in the morning for my big adventure – star trekkin’ around New South Wales on a coach with a group of strangers for four days in 45 degree heat (that’s over 110 in Fahrenheit) with flies as big as sparrows.

Here’s the brief tour description.

This four-day tour takes you behind the scenes at some of Australia’s world-class astronomical installations. In the company of University of Sydney astronomers, you will head out to see the famous “Dish”, the Parkes Radio Telescope. From Parkes the tour makes it way up to the Anglo-Australian Observatory at Siding Spring Mountain, Coonabarabran and then onto the Australian Telescope Compact Array and the Sydney University Stellar Interferometer at Narrabri.

They also promise some star gazing at night, conditions permitting.

Why am I doing it?  I’m not really sure.  I like to try different things and I had an interest in astronomy as a kid, back in the days when Pluto was still a planet and Jupiter only had 12 moons (it now has 63 according to Wikipedia).  The interest was still there in the background and I’ve been thinking for a while that I could do one of those intro type courses.  When I saw this one listed, I was intrigued and signed up on the spot.

I haven’t really seen rural New South Wales before but that will change considering that we’re covering about 1,300 kilometres on what is hopefully an air conditioned coach.  I’ve brought myself a hat and insect repellant sunscreen so I think I’m ready.

Wish me luck.  I’ll report back next week unless I’ve been carried away by the flies!

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