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Google Doodle Celebrates Parkes Observatory

The CSIRO Parkes Observatory gets its own Google Doodle today. Sure, it’s not as fancy as, say, the Jim Henson or Freddie Mercury ones, but it recognises a key bit of Australian scientific history as the dish turns 50.

The Parkes dish is the observatory made famous in “The Dish”, but its role goes beyond the NASA moon missions; it’s still in use today some 50 years since it was first opened. The site itself held open days earlier in the month. Just think about how far we’ve come in computing terms in the last 50 years, and consider that the dish is still in use, albeit a little more precise than it originally was. That’s a bit of an understatement; the telescope’s web page notes that it’s more than 10,000 times more sensitive than when it was built.

Now, onto the important question — what kind of gift is appropriate for a 50-year-old telescope? I’m guessing that they don’t make underwear or hankies in that size… [Google]