“The Dish”

July 28th, 2010

I was very lucky to receive a 2010 David Malin Award for an animated time-lapse sequence of a setting Milky Way.  After a nine-hour drive we arrived to Parkes, NSW. The weather was nice and I used the opportunity to  take some images of the famous Parkes Radio Telescope under the night sky.

The Dish

the-dish-and-the-moon The Dish is a very impressive structure –  movable telescope spans over 64 metres in diameter and takes 15 minutes to make a 360 degrees turn.  It is the second largest movable dish telescope in the Southern Hemisphere. During the Apollo missions to the moon, it was used to relay communication and telemetry signals to NASA, providing coverage for when the moon was on the Australian side of the Earth.
The radio telescope is commonly known as “The Dish”  after being featured in the 2000 fiction film.
Standing under the dish made me feel very small indeed.
Show on the Map

360 Degree Panoramas

I took several 360 degrees panoramic images which allow some exciting projections as well as virtual tours. The ground was lit by thin crescent Moon.

Two Dishes Virtual Tour

Moonlit Grass

The Dish and The Tree Virtual Tour

The Dish

If you click on the Virtual Tour thumbnails at the left you should be able to pan and zoom using the buttons at the bottom of the image or just click and drag it with the mouse to pan and use Shift/Ctrl keys to zoom in and out. Adobe Flash player is required.

A few panoramic projections:


The light from the crescent moon was subtle enough to still reveal the Milky Way and gently illuminate the ground.

Milky Way

After the Moon had set below the horizon, the Milky Way became more prominent and there was some light on the ground from the illuminated Dish.

Time Lapse Animation

I made the following time lapse animation from just over a thousand of still images. It shows the rotation of the Earth and movements of The Dish.


17 Comments for this entry

  1. Christoph Wolff:

    Hey There!
    Like your images! Would it be ok to post the one that ist the apotd to my blog and spread the love! 🙂 Your Copyright and link!

    Would be great!

    greetz chris

    • terrastro:

      Thanks, of course 🙂

  2. Kenneth F. Ruczko:

    Your imagery is fantastic. I have been a fan of the Parkes Radio Telescope since I saw it in a movie back in the 70’s or 80’s. I can’t remember the title, but it dealt with 3 people left on earth. The people end the movie by blowing up the RT and the one man is transported to another world where the view is truly galactic.

    Anyway, thank you for your presentations.

    • ruben:

      Hello: I think the title of the film was “The quiet earth”. I saw it in Madrid, Spain, in an old (and extint) festival of SciFi movies. ( i apologize for my english).

  3. L Ferris:

    The panorama is absolutely breath taking. The beauty so many take for granted is visible if they just look, thank you for bringing some of it to others who do not have the opportunity to travel to these places. Really fantastic!

  4. Anton J. Zeier:

    Really fantastic!
    Anyway, big thank you for your presentations.
    Greetings from Germany.
    Anton Johannes Zeier, Hannover

  5. Chris O'Brien:

    Alex, your Parkes panaoramas are stunning! Might you be considering more of them but taken far from any man-made lights? I’m fascinated by the Aussie outback (but have never been there), and I imagine that there would be huge possibilities way out there. Anyway, looking forward to more!

    Toronto, Canada

    • terrastro:

      Thanks, Chris!
      I tried to make those in a dark location but they look better with some light (crescent moon works well) on the ground. I am planning a sky-only interactive panorama when I am really away from the man made lights.


      • Chris O'Brien:

        That sounds good, Alex. Yeah, I guess you have to have some light around (natural being best e.g. moonlight) so all the trees, bushes, rock outcrops etc. show up. Anyway, I look forward to your future efforts. Good luck!


  6. Helen Sim:

    Alex, these are absolutely gorgeous: you’ve done The Dish proud!

  7. yves:

    Fantastic ton site!
    je suis émerveillé de la qualité de tes images!
    Avec quel appareil filmes tu?
    Au plaisir et bravo
    De la Suisse

  8. gleslie:

    This is such a nice view of the dish with a stars and moon… I wish i could see that in the real life 🙂

  9. BrightDay:

    I’ve just sent a message to you,because I like your picture so much.Is it good to take these photo under a full moon?Or crescent moon?


    • terrastro:

      No Moon or thin crescent moon (<10% illuminated) is best

      • BrightDay:

        Thanks Alex!
        I saw your picture in APOD,it says that the photo is overlayed by 7 pictures,each of them owns 15 min exposure time.How could you keep the stars sharp while keep the landscape so clear(steady)?

        • terrastro:

          they are 15 seconds long, not 15 minutes

  10. Mu64:

    Fantastic !

    So beautiful and so poetic !

    I saw your images on vimeo.
    I put them on my website, this has to be seen !


Leave a Reply