Astronomy Without A Telescope – Indigenous Australian Astronomy

The Homunculus Nebula arising from the Eta Carinae star system – thought to be stellar material blown off by this massive star system during a ‘supernova impostor’ event that occurred around 1840.

Eta Carinae is a massive binary system – of which the dominant member is an eruptive luminous blue variable star. The system’s last significant eruption – also known as the ‘great outburst’ – made Eta Carinae briefly the second brightest star system in the night sky after Sirius over the period of 1837 to 1845, after which it faded again. The great outburst left behind the Homunculus Nebula – and also left an impression on the indigenous Aboriginal people of Australia who observed it at that time.

© Steve Nerlich for Universe Today, 2010.

~ by sternbo on November 7, 2010.

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