Author(s): Ray Norris
This book gives you an easy-to-read introduction to what we know about Aboriginal Astronomy, and the current state of research into this area.
Each of the 400 different Aboriginal 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 “emu in the sky” 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 eclipses as a conjunction of the Sun and Moon.
Thse traditions reveal a depth and complexity of Aboriginal cultures which are not widely appreciated by outsiders. This book explores the wonderful mystical Aboriginal astronomical stories and traditions, and the way in which these are used for practical applications such as navigation and harvesting. It also describes the journey of exploration which is opening Western eyes to this treasury of ancient Aboriginal knowledge.
Ray Norris is a British and Australian astrophysicist whose day-job is to use international telescopes to figure out how galaxies formed and evolved. In his spare time he researches the astronomy of Aboriginal Australians, and is an Adjunct Professor at the Macquarie University Dept. of Indigenous Studies (Warawara). As well as over 250 professional publications, he frequently appears on radio and TV, and performs in a stage show called "The First Astronomers." For relaxation, he walks the moors of Dartmoor and the Australian bush, and writes. Cilla Norris has been an artist, high school teacher, veterinary nurse, wildlife sanctuary guide, and wild-life carer. As well as working with Ray on Aboriginal Astronomy, she is known as an authority on the care and rehabilitation of Australian wildlife, and writes and teaches about possums.