Astronomy of Indigenous Australians
Thursday, September 20, 2012 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM (EST)
About the talk Each of the 400 different indigenous cultures in Australia has a distinct mythology, ceremonies, and art forms, some of which have a strong astronomical component. Many share common traditions such as the ³emu in the sky² constellation of dark clouds, and stories about the Sun, Moon, Orion, and the Pleiades. Several use the rising and setting of particular stars to indicate the time to harvest a food source, and some link the Sun and Moon to tides, and even explain the origin of eclipses as a conjunction of the Sun and Moon. Such traditions reveal a depth and complexity of Aboriginal cultures which are not widely appreciated by outsiders. This talk will explore the wonderful mystical Aboriginal astronomical stories and traditions and the way in which these are used for practical applications such as navigation and a calendar, as well as describing the journey of exploration which is opening Western eyes to this treasury of ancient Aboriginal knowledge.
About the speaker Ray Norris is an astrophysicist at CSIRO Astronomy & Space Science. He received an Honours Degree in Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University, UK, and then a PhD at Manchester University, UK. He moved to Australia in 1983 to join the CSIRO Australia Telescope National Facility, where he became Head of Astrophysics in 1994, Deputy Director in 2000, and Director of the Australian Astronomy MNRF in 2001. He left research management in 2006 to return to active research, and currently leads the EMU project to image the faintest radio galaxies and star-forming galaxies in the Universe, to understand how they form and evolve. He also studies the astronomy of Aboriginal Australians, and is an Adjunct Professor in the Dept. of Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University. He has recently published a novel, Graven Images, available from Amazon and other bookstores.
Date: 20 September 2012
Time: 6:30pm - 8:00pm