Our list wouldn't be complete without the inclusion of an observatory dedicated to radio astronomy, a subfield of astronomy that taps into the electromagnetic spectrum to detect and study celestial bodies. In lieu of optical telescopes that gather waves of visible light, radio observatories rely on hulking, technologically complex instruments equipped with jumbo antennas that look like and function in a similar manner to plus-sized rooftop satellite dishes.
We're partial to Australia's mega-photogenic Parkes Observatory. Fondly referred to Down Under as, simply, "The Dish," the observatory's movable, 64-meter (210-foot) radio telescope is most famous for receiving live images of 1969's Apollo 11 moon landing. Sticking out like a space-agey sore thumb in a middle of a sprawling sheep farm in the Goobang Valley, you can tell Parkes apart from other radio observatories thanks to its unusual base: a cylindrical three-story concrete tower that, if it weren't for the fact that there's a 1,000 metric ton astronomical instrument plopped on top of it, wouldn't look too entirely out of the ordinary. And the telescope isn't actually fixed to the tower, which houses a control room and offices: it simply sits on top of it.
In 2018, the observatory will be used to search for signs of extraterrestrial life along the Milky Way's galactic plane. Project Breakthrough Listen will use a staggering 130 gigabits per second to search millions of stars in the galactic plane with the hope of separating human signs from other signals.
While Parkes Observatory is home to Oz's most iconic telescope, the county is home to numerous traditional optical observatories including Gingin Observatory in Perth, Siding Spring Observatory, the historic Sydney Observatory and the privately owned observatories of Arkaroola Resort and Wilderness Sanctuary in South Australia’s Outback.