CSIRO’s PULSE@Parkes project gives high students the opportunity to control the iconic Parkes 64m radio telescope, the Dish, remotely in real time to observe pulsars.
At our most recent observing session on Friday 8 February, 27 Year 11 and 12 Physics students from Danebank Anglican School for Girls visited CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (CASS) Headquarters at Marsfield. Danebank has an interesting link with radio astronomy. The world’s first female radio astronomy, Ruby Payne-Scott, worked on radar in World War II. Post-war she worked for CSIR, now CSIRO, and conducted the first radio interferometric observations of celestial sources using the sea-cliff interferometer antenna at Dover Heights in Sydney.
PULSE@Parkes Project Scientist, Dr George Hobbs, discussing pulsars with girls from Danebank School in a PULSE@Parkes session.
Unfortunately during the late 40s it was Australian government policy that married women were unable to hold permanent positions. Although she married in 1944 she managed to keep this a secret until pregnant with her first child. She left CSIRO in 1951 and later became a science teacher at Danebank.
Today Danebank commemorates her life and achievements by hosting the annual Ruby Payne-Scott lecture, presented by a prominent female scientists. Several CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science staff members have presented this lecture over the last decade. It was wonderful for CASS to return the favour by hosting such an enthusiastic group of students for PULSE@Parkes.
Anyone can follow an observing session by joining in via twitter: @PULSEatParkes and viewing the online data monitor in a web browser during sessions. Our next observing sessions are on 22 and 25 March.