And to give you one final bit of cheer, we are pleased to share that iconic Parkes Observatory in Australia has gone on a telescope naming spree. Working in collaboration with the aboriginal peoples of the local area, the Wiradjuri people, they have chosen traditional names for the scopes that allow them to connect the historic instruments with cultures of one of the oldest societies in the world. This was done as part of Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plans, which looks to recognize the knowledge and traditions of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The new names for the scopes are as follows: The 64-meter Parkes radio telescope has been named Murriyang. In the Wiradjuri Dreaming, Biyaami (Baiame) is a prominent creator spirit and is represented in the sky by the stars which also portray the Orion constellation. Murriyang represents the ‘Skyworld’ where Biyaami lives.
Giyalung Miil is the new name for the 12-meter Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) testing antenna. Meaning ‘Smart Eye’, this telescope was commissioned in 2008 as a testbed for a special new type of receiver technology.
In addition, the 18-meter decommissioned antenna has been named Giyalung Guluman. This means ‘Smart Dish’. This antenna had the ability to move along a railway track while observing, and when linked to the main 64-meter antenna became pivotal in early work that determined the size and brightness of radio sources in the sky.
These names are amazing, and today you are going to probably hear a myriad of different pronunciations. I would like to make a request on behalf of journalists everywhere: please include recordings of native speakers of these different languages saying the names of these scopes and other objects when you give them indigenous names. We are so pleased to see these names bestowed, and we just want to honor them the way they deserve.