Last updated May 20, 2019 at 11:15 am
Take a virtual tour of the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory – one of the world’s best locations for probing the universe.
If you’ve always wanted to get away to where you can’t be disturbed, the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory might be the place for you.
Located on Wajarri Yamaji land nearly 800km north-east from Perth, it is one of the world’s quietest places. That makes it perfect for probing the universe. So much so, part of the multi-national Square Kilometre Array will be based there.
Now, thanks to a virtual tour launched by the CSIRO, you can visit the remote site.
In fully interactive 360-degrees you can explore different sites around the Murchison facility. Best of all it’s all in bright sunshine to sweep away any autumn blues.
Start by exploring around and between the 36 radio-telescope dishes that make up ASKAP. Each is 12m in diameter and are used to study galaxy formation.
Then, swing over to the Murchison Widefield Array, a low frequency array which carries out large surveys of the southern hemisphere sky. There you’ll find 256 tiles, each with 16 antennas, looking strangely like a swarm of spiders.
You can also discover the huge solar farm and lithium-ion battery – the world’s first hybrid-renewable facility to power a major remote astronomical observatory. It powers not only the telescopes, but also the MRO Control Building, inside which you can see the messy desks of the people who operate the MRO. Also inside the Control Building is the Correlator Room, which combines the signals from the 36 ASKAP telescopes to effectively create one giant telescope.
Data from Murchison is transmitted to the Pawsey Supercomputing Facility in Perth – also part of the virtual tour. Inside, the Cray Magnus computer sports a fetching Indigenous artwork. ‘SKA satellites on the Murchison’ by Margaret Whitehurst references the connection with north-west Western Australia.