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Emu Dreaming by 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.

It's written by Prof. Ray Norris (an astrophysicist with CSIRO, and an Adjunct Professor at the Dept. of Indigenous Studies, Macquarie University), and his wife Cilla. They have spent the last five years studying Aboriginal Astronomy.

Their research has included:

- uncovering little-known academic manuscripts,

- visiting Aboriginal sites throughout Australia, including the Sydney rock-art,

- spending time with the Yolngu communities in Arnhem Land.

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