The countdown is on until the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, with a weekend of astronomical proportions planned for Parkes.
On Monday 21 July 1969, six hundred million people watched as Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon. Those iconic pictures were thanks, in part, to CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope. 'The Dish' received the television signals that allowed one fifth of humanity at the time, to watch the broadcast.
To mark the milestone, there are a stellar line up of events and activities being held across the Parkes Shire.
Parkes Shire Mayor, Cr Ken Keith OAM said "as a community, we are extremely proud of the role that the Parkes Radio Telescope played in this significant moment in history, and for its ongoing contributions to astronomical discovery."
"We are delighted to welcome visitors to the region to showcase our Shire and arguably our most iconic attraction. While in town, I encourage everyone to explore the Parkes Shire and experience all the unique and quirky attractions and activities that the region has to offer."
The CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope is opening its doors to the public on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July - the Open Days are a rare opportunity to see inside The Dish! There'll be plenty of activities for everyone across the two days with science talks and presentations, observe pulsars in real time, face painting, roving performers and live entertainment, a special outdoor screening of The Dish movie, vintage car display, as well as a delicious range of food from The Dish Café. The Dish is only a short 20 minute drive, or take one small step onto the free Apollo Express shuttle buses running return trips out to The Dish on both days, picking up at Cooke Park. Find out more about the Open Days, www.apollo11.csiro.au.
Orbit around the Parkes CBD to view the outdoor public astro art installations. The Astrophotography Community Wall, featuring previous David Malin Astrophotography Award winners, can be found on Westpac's wall, corner of Court and Clarinda Street. Spot the Astronaut flying high over the Coles carpark before heading 'To the Moon and Back'. The free art exhibition featuring Apollo 11 inspired artworks by local Parkes youth will be on display from 19 July - 3 August at the Cedar Café - a perfect opportunity to enjoy a coffee and scone too!
As the sun goes down, admire Parkes' dark skies as well as the stellar light and project installations scattered throughout town. See Parkes icons come to life on the Woolworths Wall along Clarinda Street, featuring artwork by local artist, Sean James Cassidy with accompanying audio by local poets, Kerrie Peden and Jim Cassidy. The multimedia projection show will come to life after dark until 10pm, 17 - 21 July 2019.
"It’s been a pleasure to be given the opportunity to present my graphic designs and art in my home town," Mr Cassidy said.
"It was my family who first drew my attention to the skies when I was a child growing up. I was also surrounded by the presence of the Radio Telescope and could actually see it from my grandparent’s farm. For many of my childhood years, astronaut was my career of choice."
"These celebrations are important to remind us of how significant this event was to people at the time. The Apollo moon landing is a metaphor for following dreams, exploring and pushing boundaries."
Straight from Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens as part of Vivid 2019, the KA3323 light installation strikes an ecliptic resemblance to 'The Dish'. The satellite dish installation will illuminate Cooke Park from 19 to 21 July - best viewed after dark.
A number of local businesses have teamed up to make moonwalking into Parkes a breeze. The Apollo 11 deals include:
- Stay + Save at the Aastro Dish Motor Inn
- 11% off at The Dish Shop and 3D Theatre admission
- Kids visit the Henry Parkes Museums FREE
- 11% off merchandise at the Parkes Visitor Information Centre
- FREE colouring-in pack with every Galaxy Freakshake at Deja Brew
Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of the Apollo 11 deals available until 31 July 2019, and explore all the unique events, attractions and experiences that the Parkes destination has to offer. Access the Apollo 11 deals via www.visitparkes.com.au.
For the lunar list of events and activities happening in Parkes for the Apollo 11 50th anniversary, head to www.visitparkes.com.au.