I took a ride on a moving radio telescope

I took a ride on a moving radio telescope

The Parkes Radio Telescope, part of CSIRO, is one of the most famous telescopes in the world: and it’s got a unique way of getting equipment up and down from the central section. ▪ More about the Telescope: https://www.csiro.au/en/about/facilities-collections/atnf/parkes-radio-telescope

Edited by Michelle Martin https://twitter.com/mrsmmartin

I’m at https://tomscott.com
on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tomscott
on Facebook at https://facebook.com/tomscott
and on Instagram as tomscottgo

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39 Responses

  1. Tom Scott says:

    And now, a blatant plug for the podcast I host, Lateral! Episodes with William Osman, Simone Giertz, Devin “Legal Eagle” Stone, and loads more people are over at https://lateralcast.com – and there are highlights at https://youtube.com/lateralcast !

    • DOLLARMENU.​ETH says:

      that’s how you go sterile

    • LH says:

      @Skye 22 – Not according to Wikipedia, that film was shot in Mexico/USA.

    • LH says:

      @Tlyon16_boi – He came to Melbourne, his earlier rollercoaster video was shot at Luna Park. I just wish he had told his fans (via YouTube) in advance that he was coming, it would have been great for him to have some kind of meet-and-greet event! Although I don’t follow his podcasts, blogs or newsletters or anything, so perhaps he did mention it there.

    • lunavixen015 says:

      How are you liking Australia Tom?

    • nedyrb says:

      i love lateral ive seen all the good highlights now and i listen on my way to and from work! reminds me of jeopardy and its perfect with you and the host of guests :o)

  2. salarybot says:

    John is a very enthusiastic and informative guide, and you can tell he absolutely loves his job. It’s always so amazing to see such passionate people sharing what they love, and Tom’s sheer indulgence in it is infectious. Another banger!

    • Lach D says:

      That guy is a born science communicator, absolutely fantastic

    • John Mills says:

      @1:09 Seemed a little sad that not a lot of atronomers visit, like it would get quite lonely. Rather in the past, the place must have been a neat “social” environment. Since replaced with virtual access.

    • D Grant says:

      I was going to say similar – I could listen to John for hours!

    • Prezo says:

      John is one of the most excited about his job people I have ever met, he’s been working there for as long as I remember and will never turn town an opportunity to tell people about the dish

    • Build-a-Buddha says:

      I love episodes like this where Tom gets to get a little tour from someone who is clearly very passionate about their work.

  3. Triairius says:

    I swear, Tom, the best thing you and your team does is find passionate experts on fascinating topics and simply let them shine.

  4. Andrew Webb says:

    The idea that they can use the telescope itself as a giant crane is ingenious.

    • Alex says:

      like treebeard picking up a hobbit

    • Bachaddict says:

      @Dan Geary Mobile crane? I think self-assembling cranes are such a cool design principle

    • Dan Geary says:

      No doubt!
      I never thought about having the edge of the scope go down to get the equipment into the dish.
      But then, I should have thought of it.
      I’ve used the power of a piece of heavy equipment to help assemble and disassemble itself!

  5. Emma Alexander says:

    As a radio astronomer, I was so happy to see this video! There really is nothing like going up into a dish — I’ve been on the Efflesberg radio telescope. I’ve never observed with Parkes, but I have with another Australian telescope, ATCA (they’re both operated by the same institute). It’s an amazing feeling when you’re observing remotely from the UK, and knowing that you’re responsible for such huge things turning and looking at astronomical objects for you. You might be sick of radio astronomy now, but you have got an invite to Jodrell Bank Observatory in your suggestions submission form! Come say hello next time you’re up this way. 🙂

    • Benjamin Butcher says:

      Would there be a way to shield things like this so that we could build them in space?

      Can’t help but feel as though not being constrained by gravity might be a bonus 🙂

    • Wisteela says:

      Do you still have the old replica control desk? I loved playing with that on a school visit in the late 80s.

    • Andrew Reynolds says:

      What does it take to become a radio astronomer

    • zyeborm says:

      I get giddy making a LED flash or a gate open from a distance with electronics I’ve made. Making a thousand tonnes dance must be next level

    • Marvin De Bot says:

      He may be, we on the other hand are not at all tired of radio telescopes.
      Didn’t you love the look on Tom’s face when the guide did the feather drop analogy? Not often do we see Tom Speechless!

  6. Joe Bleasdale says:

    Immediately intrigued by Tom Scott emerging from his burrow like a science-obsessed badger, and then John held my attention for ten minutes. This is a top-tier Blue Peter segment!

  7. AFGuidesHD says:

    How the dish at that angle doesn’t rip off from the building is quite interesting

    • Mavric says:

      At 7:30 you can see the massive counterweight

    • Adrian Bawn says:

      Its not just hanging off the side. Theres a massive counterbalance there that keeps the weight mostly evenly balanced on either side. Its the same way most, if not all, dish antennas work. You can see the huge solid metal block at 7:30

    • Jay Koerner says:

      @AFGuidesHD it’s not connected, looks to be built the same way that battleship turrets are

    • AFGuidesHD says:

      @illitero *smacks desk* thank you!

    • Repentance Faith says:

      Consider where your soul will spend eternity, heaven or hell. You don’t want to end up in hell because you rejected the Sacrifice Jesus has made all who repent and turn to him by faith. We are all guilty of sin. We lie, steal and look with lust in our hearts. We are all Guilty before a Holy and Righteous God. GOD is not just all loving and overlook your sin. He is loving but sin He will Judge because He is Perfectly good. The Good news is God the Father sent His Son Jesus Christ who was perfectly Holy to pay the penalty for your and my sin out of Love for us. We can’t keep the Law we break most all commandments. But Jesus fulfilled ALL by his perfect thoughts, words, deeds and motives for us because we could not. Jesus loved all humans and God the Father perfectly. Turn, repent of your sin and confess Your thankfulness for what Jesus did for you. Put your faith in the perfection and the righteousness of Christ. Jesus was raised from death to give you new life; death has been defeated. Out of love and grace eternal life is promised to those who have faith. ,/………………………………..

  8. Leon Poole says:

    John is the perfect guide. His enthusiasm and the way he brings science to life in such an accessible way is amazing. Fantastic

  9. zakiducky says:

    The part about the energy in the feather hitting the floor being larger than that collected by all radio telescopes ever was _genuinely_ mind blowing.

  10. Mark Townsend says:

    “The Dish” is one of my favourite films. It’s awesome to see Tom wandering around Parkes, and to see that they must have filmed a lot of the movie in the actual structure. The telescope is an amazing piece of kit.

    • Max Wilson says:

      Gonna have to watch it now

    • coweatsman says:

      The line west of Parkes en route to Broken Hill has only this week just reopened after repairs to flood damage last year.

    • coweatsman says:

      @Pogla The Grate Forbes and Parkes used to be very similar towns 30 km apart but Parkes reopened gold mining in the 1990s and has grown in population and wealth as a result while Forbes is sleepy. Parkes is also a rail junction for east west trains and one day a north south line when it’s completed. Forbes does have some gorgeous architecture however well worth the look. Forbes is also prone to flooding from the Lachlan River as it did in 2022.

    • Pogla The Grate says:

      A lot of the film was shot in Forbes, as it looks more like a 60s town

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