Australia Telescope Compact Array
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Five of the ATCA antennas at Narrabri
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The telescope is an array of six identical 22-metre (72 ft) diameter dishes, which commonly operate in aperture synthesis mode to produce radio images. Five of the dishes can be moved along a three-kilometre (2 mi) railway track. The sixth antenna is situated three kilometres west of the end of the main track. Each dish weighs about 270 tonnes (270 long tons; 300 short tons).
The Compact Array is a part of the Australia Telescope National Facility network of radio telescopes. The array is frequently operated together with other CSIRO telescopes, the 64-metre (210 ft) dish at the Parkes Observatory and a single 22-metre (72 ft) dish at Mopra (near Coonabarabran), to form a very long baseline interferometry array.
The Array welcomes visitors from the general public. The facility includes a Visitor's Centre where the operations of the array can be observed in comfort and shade, and it has a range of informational displays and audiovisual presentations, while the surrounding grounds have displays and activities for visitors. Open Days are run regularly, and to mark special events such as the anniversary of the first Moon landing, or major anniversaries of the telescope itself.
The children's/young adult drama Sky Trackers was filmed in this facility in 1994 with the radio telescopes being prominently featured.
The array under construction (1988)
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- Australia Telescope Compact Array Home Page contains links for the general public and for professional astronomers
- ATCA Live! website shows current observations
- ATCA sky camera shows the sky above the ATCA
- John Paul Wild (Wikipedia article about the founder of the observatory)