Western Australia, Day 2 – Murchison Radioastronomy Observatory

30 May 2016

We left Geraldton mid-morning to start our 5-hour trip across the Western Australian outback to the Murchison Radioastronomy Observatory, the future site of the low-frequency Square Kilometre Array and the current site of two SKA-precursor instruments, the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) and Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). The Precursor facilities are defined as being those situated on the two SKA sites in Australia and South Africa.

Maybe an hour out of Geraldton, we stopped at a small town, Mullewa, for a quick pit stop.

Jonesys Cafe, where you can find quite possibly what are the best muffins in the world, and the hottest damned coffee I’ve ever tried to drink. Norm, our bus driver for the two day trip, was staying cool regardless.

Back on the road and we are truly in the desert now. The weather was beautiful, but the northerners amongst us were constantly reminded that this is the Australian winter, and that it is not always like this.

That’s a big ant-hill, Adam! Try jumping up-and-down – let’s see what happens.

By mid-afternoon we had arrived at the Observatory and we were taken on a tour of the core of the ASKAP array.

SKA Safety Officer John was not impressed with how I wore the hard-hat. But look how well I’m demonstrating how to properly and safely hold a camera when on the field!

You can see the extent of the ASKAP array, on this Google Map.

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It was fantastic and fascinating to visit the ASKAP facility, and although we had had a long day, the experience was informative and would leave a lasting memory. We left as the sun was setting, looking forward to the next day’s activities.

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