Did you know that WA is home to world-class stargazing? Our State has very low levels of artificial light pollution which makes it ideal for stargazing and astronomical activities. You don’t need a telescope to enjoy WA’s dark night sky. All you have to do is turn out all your lights and stand outside to marvel at the Universe above. The darker it is the more stars you’ll see!
The Emu in the Sky
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 constellation that’s outlined by dark areas of the night sky, not the stars.
When to look: 8.30pm, late June 2019
Which direction to look: South
First, locate the Southern Cross constellation. 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. This represents the head of the Emu with the beak pointing down. 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 (www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2009/07/27/2632463.htm). And if you’d like to find out more, Prof Ray Norris, Astrophysicist at CSIRO, and his wife Cilla have written Emu Dreaming, An Introduction to Australian Aboriginal Astronomy, www.emudreaming.com/.
There’s also a wonderful 2019 Noongar 6 Aboriginal Seasons Calendar produced by WA’s Wheatbelt NRM, with support from the Wheatbelt NRM Elders Advisory Group. Here you’ll discover more about the Noongar 6 Aboriginal Seasons. It’s for sale from their website, www.wheatbeltnrm.org.au/product-display/2019-noongar-calendar.