Currently we are staying at the Australian Telescope National Facility (ATNF) headquarters in Marsfield, Sydney.
They have six single and two double accommodation "huts" on the site for visiting scientists and students to the ATNF and the AAO (Anglo-Australian Observatory). These are basic but adequate rooms, containing what I consider necessities – a bed, a shower and a toilet – not necessarily listed in order of importance!
There is a communal lounge and communal kitchen and I am having nasty flashbacks to student housing at Macquarie Uni!
The tv is in the lounge so everyone watches whatever the first person is watching. The fridge has large containers marked with the hut number in which to put your food/drink. I am fairly convinced that someone is drinking my cranberry juice and absolutely certain that someone took my passionfruit yogurt!!
The huts are set among gum trees and native shrubs and the kookaburras start laughing at the first peep of the sun. Then, the currawongs and magpies start their loud chattering and there is no hope of further sleep! There are rabbits throughout the grounds and I am sure there are snakes – at least that is what I keep telling the astro-dweeb 🙂 When we arrived we were told that they are trying to eradicate the rabbits with a virus and that they go under the huts to die…. so far we have not smelt any rotting flesh – but there is still time!
This is a Government site so at night it is locked down and we need magnetic passes to get through the large gates into the compound – it is basically deserted and a little spooky. The ATNF supports research in radio astronomy. It is administered by the CSIRO, a national scientific research organisation and is funded by the Australian Government. There are two 4 metre radio telescopes on-site which are used to test instruments which will be sent to other ATNF telescopes.
The ATNF operates the Australia Telescope which consists of the Compact Array at Narrabri and the Parkes and Mopra radio telescopes. These telescopes can be used together as a long baseline array for use in Very Long Baseline Interferometry. More information on ATNF