Aboriginal people viewed comets as portents of doom

Written by: Nairita Das
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Melbourne, Oct 19 (ANI): A new study of Aboriginal astronomy has found that Australia's first people viewed comets as portents of doom.

Writing on the pre-press website arXiv.org, Duane Hamacher from Sydney's Macquarie University who led the research, says Aboriginal people developed an extensive culture regarding the night sky with stories and detailed observations.

"Different Aboriginal groups had different seasons linked to certain stars which correlated to the availability of certain food sources, or when Indonesian fishermen would come to trade," ABC Science quoted Hamacher as saying.

"Aboriginal societies typically associated comets with fear, death, omens of sickness, malevolent spirits and evil magic, which is consistent with many other cultures around the world."

Hamacher examined 25 accounts of comets from 40 Aboriginal communities citing both supernatural perceptions and historical accounts.

"While the description and location of some stories in the 19th and 20th centuries can be linked to actual historical events, others don't correspond to any particular comet," he says.

Hamacher managed to find Aboriginal accounts for about half a dozen major comets including events in 1843, 1844 and 1861.(ANI)

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