Australia Telescope antennas near Narrabri, NSW.
Making world-class telescopes accessible
ATNF provides around-the-clock services to users of the Australia Telescope: 400 people each year, from 20 countries.
6 August 2007 | Updated 14 October 2011
CSIRO’s Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF) supports radio astronomy by operating radio telescopes at three observatories in New South Wales:
six 22-metre diameter antennas (dishes) near Narrabri (the Australia Telescope Compact Array)
a 64-metre diameter antenna near Parkes (the Parkes telescope)
a 22-metre diameter dish near Coonabarabran (the Mopra telescope)
About 90 per cent of radio astronomy done in Australia is done with these telescopes, which are collectively referred to as the Australia Telescope.
CSIRO operates the Australia Telescope and it is one of the world’s most powerful and sophisticated radio
telescopes. The Australia Telescope Compact Array is the only major telescope of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.
CSIRO’s Australia Telescope Compact Array is the only major telescope of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.
The ATNF provides users of the Australia Telescope:
24-hour-a-day observing support
‘remote observing’: the ability to observe (with the Compact Array) over the internet
online archive of Compact Array data back to 1990
custom-designed and customised software tools for processing Australia Telescope data
documentation of telescope systems for observers
accommodation at the observatories.
Telescope users also benefit from:
unique or rare technical capabilities of the telescopes:
extremely accurate polarisation measurement
simultaneous observations at different wavelengths.
techniques supported by the telescope, such as:
mosaicing (piecing together a large field of view from many separate telescope ‘pointings’)
pulsar gating (synchronising observations to fall the between the regular ‘flashes’ of a pulsar’s signal)
tied-array mode (a special way to combine the signals received by the Compact Array).
Who uses it?
About 400 researchers use the Australia Telescope each year. Ninety percent are from outside CSIRO:
CSIRO astrophysics staff use the Australia Telescope for their research. CSIRO astrophysics staff also co-supervise 25-30 PhD students with Australian universities. These students use the Australia Telescope for their thesis projects.
Astronomers from Australia and overseas are invited to apply for observing time on ATNF telescopes. Observing time is awarded by the Time Assignment Committee on the basis of the merits of the proposed research. Please note that the ATNF does not employ telescope operators and observers are required to be present for their observations.
Application deadlines and observing terms
|Closing date |
|Term duration ||Time assignment |
|October ||June 15 ||1 October-31 March ||July |
|April ||December 15 ||1 April-30 September ||February |
Read more about CSIRO's Astronomy & Space Facilities.