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Australian Indigenous Astronomy

The Mystery of Parna

1 May 2013, 04:40 UTC
The Mystery of Parna
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Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} by Duane HamacherIn the Adelaide region of South Australia, the arrival of autumn was signalled by the heliacal rising of a star the local Aboriginal people called Parna. The appearance of Parna just before sunrise warned the Aboriginal people that the annual autumn rains (Figure 1) would soon arrive and that they needed to build large, waterproof huts. Local place names illustrate this: a hilltop campsite south of Adelaide was named Parnangga, which meant “autumn rains" and referred to the appearance of Parna in the morning sky. The identity of Parna has remained a mystery, as the identity of the star in Western terms was never given.Figure 1: Autumn thunderstorm over Adelaide. Image from bom.gov.auBut if we do a little research, we can figure out the most likely candidate for Parna. First, we look at the autumn rains. The autumn rains occur around the end of March and beginning of April. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the average monthly rainfall in the period from 1977 ...

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