|Part of||Paul Wild Observatory|
|Location(s)||New South Wales, AUS|
|Telescope style||cosmic microwave background experiment|
Location of Australia Telescope Compact Array
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The Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) is a radio telescope operated by CSIRO at the Paul Wild Observatory, twenty five kilometres (16 mi) west of the town of Narrabri in New South Wales, Australia.
The telescope is an array of six identical 22-metre (72 ft) diameter dishes, which commonly operate in aperture synthesis mode to produce radio images. Five of the dishes can be moved along a three-kilometre (2 mi) railway track oriented east-west. The sixth antenna is situated three kilometres west of the end of the main track. Each dish weighs about 270 tonnes (270 long tons; 300 short tons).
The Compact Array is a part of the Australia Telescope National Facility network of radio telescopes. The array is frequently operated together with other CSIRO telescopes, the 64-metre (210 ft) dish at the Parkes Observatory and a single 22-metre (72 ft) dish at Mopra (near Coonabarabran), to form a very long baseline interferometry array.
The Array welcomes visitors from the general public. The facility includes a Visitor's Centre where the operations of the array can be observed in comfort and shade, and it has a range of informational displays and audiovisual presentations, while the surrounding grounds have displays and activities for visitors. Open Days are run regularly, and to mark special events such as the anniversary of the first Moon landing, or major anniversaries of the telescope itself.
Five of the antennas (2000)
One antenna vertically aligned (2005)
The array under construction (1988)
Star gazing beside the array, as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations on 1 September 2013.
Whilst remaining a telescope predominantly dedicated to radio-astronomy, in 2007, the Compact Array was outfitted with receivers enabling it to receive radio waves 7 mm long, allowing it to be used from time to time to help NASA track spacecraft.
Highlights of the scientific work done by the ATCA include:
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