Indigenous astronomers were at work before the Ancient Greeks
DID you know that there are ancient Aboriginal names for places across our solar system?
Features on Venus, Mars and Pluto were named by Indigenous astronomers way before the ancient Greeks got into the act.
This cultural knowledge doesn’t stop there.
Incredible as it is that Aboriginal people could have even known about Pluto’s existence, how about this – there are also Indigenous names for features on four of Saturn’s moons, one of Uranus’ moons and a few asteroids thrown in for good measure.
If that impresses you, and you’d like to learn more, it’s a simple process to dip your toe in the water.
The legends of the night sky will come alive next weekend at Wellington Caves (Saturday, October 6) when a PHD researcher for the Wiradjuri Community Astronomy Project will guide locals through the night sky, highlighting both the classical and some Wiradjuri constellations as part of a Mid-macquarie Landcare awareness-raising series of workshops.
Trevor Leaman from the University of NSW has spent years compiling his knowledge of the ancient legends in the cosmos from Indigenous cultural practices and delivers his presentations in a hands-on, informative and entertaining way.
As researchers like Trevor delve deeper into the history of interaction with the stars and planets, it’s becoming ever more obvious that first people’s, and Aboriginal culture in particular, worked out celestial movements tens of thousands of years before the ancient Trevor Leaman, a PHD Researcher with the Wiradjuri Cultural Astronomy Project, supplied this image showing the Wiradjuri Emu from his Stellarium project. Greeks, the classical astronomers who have been credited with framing the way humans see, understand and utilise the night sky.
The evening is free and there’ll be showbags with sky stories and star maps for you to get started on your own stargazing journey.
Some telescopes will be available on the night but you can also bring your own, or a pair of binoculars.
Be at Wellington Caves around 7pm, the event finishes at 8.30pm. It’ll be a great night out for the whole family and feel free to bring a picnic dinner.
RSVP’S to Jean Ellis on 0457 115 525, 6845 1420 or email info@ mml.org.au
You can also follow Mid-macquarie Landcare’s Facebook page for updates.
z John Ryan also works part-time for Mid-macquarie Landcare