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Aboriginal Astronomers
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Indigenous song Twinkling Stars tells science of the seasons

On Murray Island in the Torres Strait the Meriam people have a song about the stars and the change of seasons.

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Why is it so calm tonight
Why are the stars twinkling like embers?
Me, I think it's because of the big wind
The clouds are coming from the south
And being swept to the northwest
Why are the stars twinkling like embers?
- Uer Naskaisreda 'The Twinkling Stars' song by George Passi 



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Unlocking the secrets of indigenous astronomy

Since time immemorial, Aborigines have been using the night skies to navigate and have recounted the importance of the stars in their Dreamtime stories.
Now evidence is emerging that they had an even more complex understanding of astronomy than they were given credit for by western observers.

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Podcast: Aboriginal Astronomy 3 Oct 11

Duration: 19 mins

Aboriginal Astronomy does the unearthing of an "Aboriginal Stonehenge change the history of astronomy?

Download 9MB (right click & "save target as")

Source



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Ancient Aboriginal people may have been the world's first astronomers, a CSIRO study says.
Professor Ray Norris, who will deliver his findings at an astronomy, space and science lecture in Townsville in north Queensland today, says Indigenous Australians used the rising and setting of particular stars to read tides and harvest food.

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Great scientists like Eratosthenes began with a vivid imagination
Eratosthenes of Cyrene was born in what is today Libya, in North Africa, in 276 BC.
He led a remarkable life by any standard, as he was the chief librarian of the Library of Alexandria - the greatest collection of knowledge in the ancient world - and was also a leading figure in mathematics, geography, and astronomy. He died at age 80 after having made important contributions in all these fields.
The path that led Eratosthenes to calculate the circumference of the earth started when he read a curious account in the Great Library about a water well in Syene (now Aswan, Egypt) that reflected the sun at noon on the day of the summer solstice (around June 21).

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 Heavenly maps were made by numerous non-Western cultures long before Europeans began to systematically catalogue the skies. Islamic astronomers made many meticulous maps of the skies, providing a framework for later observers. The tenth-century astronomer Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi recorded the first description of the nebulosity of the Andromeda nebula in his star atlas.

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In ancient Egypt,  the Hippopotamus goddess, Taweret,  equates to Ursa major.  On her back  is a  crocodile,  that corresponds to Draco.
Illustrations show her holding  on to a  " heavenly mooring post" (ie the pole star) which would have been, at the time, Alpha Draconis.


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