The countdown is on until the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and there's a weekend of astronomical proportions planned for Parkes.
That's according to Parkes Shire Council, who has a stellar line-up of events and activities locked in across the shire to mark the milestone.
On Monday, July 21, 1969, 600 million people watched as Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon. Those iconic pictures were thanks, in part, to CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope. The Dish, as it is more fondly known, received the television signals that allowed one fifth of humanity at the time to watch the broadcast.
"As a community, we are extremely proud of the role the Parkes Radio Telescope played in this significant moment in history, and for its ongoing contributions to astronomical discovery," Parkes Shire Mayor, Cr Ken Keith OAM said.
"We are delighted to welcome visitors to the region to showcase our shire and arguably our most iconic attraction. While in town, I encourage everyone to explore the Parkes Shire and experience the unique and quirky attractions and activities the region has to offer."
Alongside the open days at the CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope - which has free Apollo Express shuttle buses running return trips to the Dish on both days, picking up at Cooke Park - orbit around the Parkes CBD, and you will find many more events happening in the lead up to and over the July 20-21 weekend.
One attraction to keep an eye on - especially as the sun goes down - is the stellar light and project installations scattered throughout the town. See Parkes' icons come to life on the Woolworths Wall along Clarinda Street, featuring artwork by local artist, Sean James Cassidy with accompanying audio by local poets Kerrie Peden and Jim Cassidy. The multimedia projection show will come to life after dark until 10pm, from July 17-21.
"It's been a pleasure to be given the opportunity to present my graphic designs and art in my home town," Mr Cassidy said.
"It was my family who first drew my attention to the skies when I was a child growing up. I was also surrounded by the presence of the radio telescope and could actually see it from my grandparent's farm. For many of my childhood years, astronaut was my career of choice.
"These celebrations are important to remind us of how significant this event was to people at the time.
"The Apollo moon landing is a metaphor for following dreams, exploring and pushing boundaries."
Straight from Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens as part of Vivid Sydney 2019, the KA3323 light installationstrikes an ecliptic resemblance to the Dish and is coming to Parkes.
KA3323 is a retro-futuristic contraption that takes the form of an interactive satellite dish.
The satellite dish installation will illuminate Cooke Park from July 19 to 21 and will be best viewed after dark.
For more information on the lunar list of events and activities happening in Parkes for the Apollo 11 50th anniversary, head to www.visitparkes.com.au.
The Parkes Champion Post has released a 50th Anniversary Moon Landing special publication that talks all about the Parkes Radio Telescope. You can find a copy of this liftout in today's paper (Friday, July 12) or head to our office in Court Street.