Parkes open days

It’s been 50 years since Australia helped send images of humankind’s first steps on the Moon around the world. To celebrate we’re holding FREE open days at our Parkes Observatory with FREE transport to and from Parkes.


Saturday 20 July and Sunday 21 July (9am – 5pm):

  • Take the rare opportunity to tour ‘The Dish’
  • Discover the latest in Australian astronomy and space science with talks, presentations and displays – hear from Adelaide-born NASA astronaut Dr. Andrew Thomas and Mr Anthony Murfett of the Australian Space Agency on Sunday 21 July
  • Drive the telescope to observe pulsars in real-time
  • Explore the brightest stars, planets and the Sun with the Central West Astronomical Society
  • Check out the Parkes Observatory Visitors Centre
  • Have fun with science activities for kids
  • Get into theme with space face painting
  • Be entertained by roving performers
  • Step back in time with vintage car displays
  • Listen to live music
  • Enjoy the range of delicious food available

Saturday evening

Make sure you arrive early to grab a prime spot and enjoy our pre-movie entertainment from 5pm, including:

  • Optical astronomy viewing
  • Space trivia
  • Apollo 11 – themed short films and artworks
  • Grab some gourmet dinner under the Dish
  • Actor Roy Billing, who played the Mayor of Parkes in ‘The Dish’ will introduce the film
  • ‘The Dish’ will then screen at 7pm.

To make sure you’re comfy and warm during the evening please BYO chairs, blankets and beanies.

Sunday afternoon

Watch the broadcast of the Moon landing as it happened on Monday, 21 July 1969. When, at 12.56pm (AEST), 600 million people around the world watched as humanity took its first steps on the Moon.

Speaker’s program

Saturday 20 July 2019 Speaker Topic
9:30 – 9:55 Dr Phil Edwards 60 years of Parkes in 15 minutes
10:00 – 10:25 Dr Jane Kaczmarek Voyager 2
10:30 – 10:55 Dr Andrew Cameron Pulsars with Parkes
11:00 – 11:25 Mr John Sarkissian Parkes and Apollo 11
11:30 – 11:55 Dr Jeanette Dixon The amazing Apollo discoveries
12:00 – 12:25 Dr Shivani Bhandari Fast Radio Bursts with Parkes and ASKAP
12:30 – 12:55 Dr Jimi Green Parkes as a Pathfinder
1:00-1:25 Dr Karen Lee-Waddell Cosmic dance of the galaxies
1:30 – 1:55 Dr Sarah Pearce The Square Kilometre Array
2:00 – 2:25 Dr Danny Price Are we alone? The role of Parkes in the search for life beyond Earth
2:30 – 2:55 Mr John Sarkissian Parkes and Apollo 11
3:00 – 3:25 Dr Jeanette Dixon The amazing Apollo discoveries
3:30 – 3:55 Dr Shivani Bhandari Fast Radio Bursts with Parkes and ASKAP
Sunday 21 July 2019 Speaker Topic
9:15 – 9:40 Dr Phil Edwards Sixty years of Parkes in 15 minutes
9:45 – 10:10 Mr John Sarkissian Parkes and Apollo 11
10:15 – 11:15 Dr Andy Thomas & Mr Anthony Murfett Main stage
11:15 – 12:00 Dr Everett Gibson The Bolton Lecture:
What the Astronauts did while on the Moon
12:15 – 13:15 Official ceremony Main Stage
1:30 – 2:10 Mr Stephen Slater The making of “Apollo 11″
2:15 – 2:55 Mr Chris Culbert Humans and technology on the Moon
3:00 – 3:25 Mr Ant Schinckel Square Kilometre Array
3:30 – 3:55 Dr Karen Lee-Waddell Cosmic dance of the galaxies

More information

About the telescope tours

To ensure the smooth operation of the telescope tours throughout the days we will be providing visitors who’d like to go on the tour with a wristband with an allocated window of time for their tour. Make sure you swing by the Telescope Tour Passes tent first on your way in to grab your wristband.

Enclosed footwear is essential, and all people must be able to walk unassisted up stairs.

If you’d prefer to keep your feet on terra firma, we’ve got a team of experts giving regular guided ground-based tours as well (no pass required).

Getting there

Parkes Observatory Visitors Centre

585 Telescope Road, Parkes NSW 2870, Australia.

The Parkes radio telescope is located at Parkes Observatory, 20 kilometres north of Parkes off the Newell Highway (the main highway between Brisbane and Melbourne).

FREE Buses – Catch a lift to the Dish on the Apollo Express

Our FREE Apollo Express buses will be regularly travelling from Parkes to The Dish, so hop aboard for free hassle-free travel.

Parkes Pickup Location

Cooke Park, Parkes, NSW, 2870

View Map

Visiting Parkes

To find out more information about what to see and do and where to stay while visiting the Parkes region head to

Media partner. ABC Radio will be broadcasting live from the open days.


Please note that the Parkes Observatory is wheelchair accessible, including the Visitors Centre, toilets and the café. We are also holding regular ground-based tours that are fully accessible.


Parkes Observatory Visitors Centre

Phone +61 2 6861 1777