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To the Aboriginal Peoples of Australia, the night sky is of great significance. For the night sky could serve many purposes, some practical and some more spiritual in nature. Few of us today have the same connection that early cultures did to the wider environment around us. For example, most of us spend more time under roofs than outside. Even many keen astronomers probably don’t spend the same amount of time looking at the sky as our early predecessors did. One of the reasons for this is that the night sky just isn’t considered as significant as it once was by many early cultures.
Paul Curnow [B.ED], is the Vice President of the Astronomical Society of South Australia (member since 1991) and a former council member of the Field Geology Club of South Australia. He has been a lecturer at the Adelaide Planetarium since 1992 and was the recipient of the ASSA editor’s award for 2000; 2010; and then again in 2013. In 2002, he served as a southern sky specialist for visiting U.S. and British astronomers who were in Australia for the total solar eclipse. He is regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on Australian Aboriginal night sky knowledge; and in 2004, he worked in conjunction with the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center Planetarium in Ohio, on the creation of a show that features Indigenous Australian stories of the night sky. In addition, Paul runs a number of popular courses for the general public that focus on the constellations, planetary astronomy, historical astronomy and ethnoastronomy, which primarily deals with how the night sky is seen by non-western cultures. He appeared as the keynote speaker at the inaugural 2010 Lake Tyrrell Star Party in Sea Lake, Victoria and in 2011 was a special guest speaker at the Carter Observatory in Wellington, New Zealand. Since 2012 Paul has taken the role of Lecturer for the Astronomy & Universe course (EDUC2066) for the School of Education at the University of South Australia. Paul appears regularly in the media and has authored over 50 articles on astronomy.