The Dish (landmark)

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The Dish
Radio telescope The Dish.jpg
Location(s)California, US
Coordinates37°24′30″N 122°10′44″W / 37.4083°N 122.179°W / 37.4083; -122.179Coordinates: 37°24′30″N 122°10′44″W / 37.4083°N 122.179°W / 37.4083; -122.179 Edit this at Wikidata
OrganizationSRI International Edit this on Wikidata
Telescope styleradio telescope Edit this on Wikidata
Diameter150 ft (46 m) Edit this at Wikidata
The Dish (landmark) is located in the United States
The Dish (landmark)
Location of The Dish
The Stanford Dish in the early morning hours.
The Stanford Dish in the early morning hours.
The Dish in the Stanford foothills

The Dish is a radio telescope in the Stanford foothills. The 150-foot-diameter (46 m) dish was built in 1961 by the Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International). The cost to construct the telescope was $4.5 million, and was funded by the United States Air Force.[1] In the 1960s the Dish was used to provide information on Soviet radar installations by detecting radio signals bounced off the moon.[2][3]

Later on, the Dish was used to communicate with satellites and spacecraft. With its unique bistatic range radio communications, where the transmitter and receiver are separate units, the powerful radar antenna was well-suited for communicating with spacecraft in regions where conventional radio signals may be disrupted.[citation needed]

At one point, the Dish transmitted signals to each of the Voyager craft that NASA dispatched into the outer reaches of the solar system.[4] It has also been used to remotely recalibrate ailing satellites orbiting the Earth.[citation needed]


The dish is still actively used today for academic and research purposes.[5] It is owned by the U.S. Government and operated by SRI International. It is used for commanding and calibrating spacecraft and for radio astronomy measurements.[6]

Recreational route[edit]

The area around the Dish offers a popular 3.5 mile recreational trail, visited by an average of 1,500–1,800 people daily.[7] The trail around the dish is known for its rolling hills and beautiful views, which on a clear day extend to San Jose, San Francisco, and the East Bay. While hikers, walkers, and runners are welcome, biking and dogs at the dish are not allowed. The opening hours are as per the schedule below, roughly matching daylight hours:

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
opens (AM) 6:30 6:30 6:00 6:00 6:00 6:00 6:00 6:00 6:30 6:30 6:30 6:30
closes (PM) 5:00 5:30 6:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:00 6:00 5:00 5:00

In 2011, 213 cows lived on the grounds of the Stanford Dish, according to Stanford's real estate office.[citation needed] Stanford leases the land to farmers who own the cows.


  1. ^ "Radar Dish Erected on SU Campus". The Stanford Daily. October 2, 1961.
  2. ^ Eliot, Frank. "Moon Bounce Elint" (PDF). CIA. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  3. ^ Eliot, Frank. "Moon Bounce Elint". CIA. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  4. ^ "Voyager: The Grand Tour of Big Science". NASA. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  5. ^ "Welcome to the Stanford Dish". Stanford University. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
  6. ^ "The "Dish" Radio Antenna Facility". SRI International. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  7. ^ Kim, Ryan (29 April 2004). "Stanford University / Mountain lion attack jolts horse country / Dish Trail users still jog and hike -- but are wary". SFGate. Retrieved 25 March 2019.

External links[edit]