Aboriginal people were the world’s first astronomers. Tens of thousands of years of culture and heritage are reflected in WA’s night sky. The Emu in the Sky is a well-known Aboriginal Astronomical constellation that’s outlined by dark areas of the night sky, not the stars.
To find it, first locate the Southern Cross constellation above the southern horizon. Two bright stars directly above due south are “the Pointers” to the Southern Cross. The Southern Cross is to the right of “the Pointers”.
On the left hand side of the Southern Cross, try to find a dark oval shape, called the Coalsack Nebula. This is the head of the Emu with the beak pointing downward. The long neck stretches to the left through the middle of “the Pointers”. The body and legs of the Emu stretch halfway across the horizon towards the east.
To make it easier to find, there are images outlining the Emu in the Sky and more information about Australia’s first astronomers on ABC Science’s Beginners’ Guide to the Night Sky. Prof Ray Norris, Astrophysicist at CSIRO, and his wife Cilla have written Emu Dreaming, An Introduction to Australian Aboriginal Astronomy, which is available for sale to anywhere in the world.
When to look: 8.30pm, mid June
Which direction to look: South
Noongar Season Dateless Planner
WA’s Wheatbelt NRM organisation, in conjunction with the Wheatbelt NRM Elders Advisory Group, has produced a wonderful yearly planner laid out with the Noongar six seasons. It’s a dateless planner and includes photographs and stories from all over the Wheatbelt along with art from local Ballardong artist Rikki Garlett. You’ll discover more about the six Noongar Aboriginal Seasons and the unique Wheatbelt environment. The planner is for sale from Wheatbelt NRM’s website.