A Giant Dark Emu Roams

We may not see wild emus in our bush around Newstead, but there is one vast dark one that now strides across our sky. The dark lanes and dust of the centre of the Milky Way galaxy become visible as galactic centre rises on winter evenings. Aboriginal astronomers did not limit their descriptions to bright stars as the Arabic and subsequent European astronomers did, but include the dark shapes of the night skies into their science.

The great dark emu rises above our place

The head, neck and body of the emu rise above our place at Strangways

sky emu pano labelled

And with some labels

The most impressive is the great emu that stretches across the winter sky, with its head at the base of the Southern Cross (unromantically called the Coalsack by Europeans) and feet well north in the constellation Aquila (the Eagle). The mighty body of this bird, thousands of trillions of kilometres long, is found in the constellations Scorpius and Sagittarius.

Picnic point on Lake Cairn Curran provided a great setting for photographing the centre of the Milky Way. Saturn adds an extra bright object to the spectacle. The Sagittarius Star Cloud is also easily picked out with the naked eye, but is a real treat with binoculars. The Lagoon nebula is also discernible with the naked eye and is one of the many star-creating bright nebulae in this part of the galaxy. Messier objects 6 & 7 are open star clusters and are recently born clusters of stars that have blown their gaseous nebula into space.

And rumour has it that Newstead is the centre of the universe.

Picnic Point nightscape mosiac

Milky Way central rises above Cairn Curran. Somewhere in there is a black hole millions of times the mass of our sun.

Picnic Point nightscape mosiac labelled

and some labels to go with that.

8 responses to “A Giant Dark Emu Roams

  1. Oh WOW!! That’s fantastic! Thankyou, I love your work!

  2. Geraldine Harris

    Thank you Patrick. What wonderful use of your photographic talents. Such a graphic way to show these formations – and to help us see what Aboriginal people see in the night sky.

  3. My thanks also. I love being helped to discover new things and will look at the night sky with even greater interest.

  4. wow, that’s amazingly wonderful. I don’t mind at all, if birding blogs stray into astronomy. We are all the wiser for it. Thank you.

  5. Thank you for sharing that! Newstead is just north of the centre of the universe at Yandoit! Do you have a copy of Stars over Tyrrel by the late J. Morison?

  6. Fabulous images Geoff. I could see the Emu across the night sky.

  7. Sue Lanchester

    Love these photos and having them named as well. Beautiful hope we get some more
    Cheers. Sue woodend nth

    Sent from my iPad

  8. Patrick Kavanagh

    Thanks all!

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