NSAS General Meeting for November; special speaker

10 11 2017

The NSAS General Meeting for November will be on Tuesday the 21st November at 7:30 PM at Regis Hall, Regis Campus, St Ignatius College, Lane Cove.

Our guest speaker is our own Bob Fuller. He will be given a talk on “Did Aboriginal Australians record a simultaneous eclipse and aurorae in their oral traditions?”. An abstract is below.

As usual, guests are most welcome!

David Wallace

P.S. For the observer types, Member + Visitor Night Observing will be on Saturday 11th November (i.e. tomorrow night) and Memebers-Only Night Observing will be on Saturday 18th November.

Abstract: We investigated an Australian Aboriginal cultural story that seems to describe an extraordinary series of astronomical events occurring at the same time. We hypothesised that this was a witnessed natural event and explore natural phenomena that could account for the description. We select a thunderstorm, total solar eclipse, and strong Aurora Australis as the most likely candidates, then conclude a plausible date of 764 CE. We evaluate the different factors that would determine whether all these events could have been visible, include meteorological data, alternative total solar eclipse dates, solar activity cycles, aurorae appearances, and sky brightness during total solar eclipses. We conduct this study as a test-case for rigorously and systematically examining descriptions of rare natural phenomena in oral traditions, highlighting the difficulties and challenges with interpreting this type of hypothesis.