Recently I read about a new star party in the North West Victoria – the “Lake Tyrrel Star Party”. At the star party on Saturday there were great lectures about Mars by Dr Victor Gostin, “Aboriginal Skies” by Paul Curnow and the “Night Sky of the Boorong” by John Morieson.
Lake Tyrrel is a special place – the area was once home to Boorong people and the name “Tyrrel” is the Boorong word for sky and space. When there is water in the lake and the night is cloudless and still, the whole night sky can be seen reflected in the water.
The Boorong identified a significant number of stars and constellations. The constellations are based on both stars and dark patches in the sky, like “Bunya” the possum that sits on top of the tree (Southern Cross) or “Tchingal” – the giant emu that eats people (the bright band of central Milky Way represents the Emu’s body, and the Coal Sack dark nebula is the head with the beak).
The Boorong clan no longer exists as a separate entity, but their descendants live in north-west Victoria and throughout Victoria.
I found the good spot on the Eastern side of the lake where the water was shallow and recessed producing mirror-like surface. So I set up the camera on the tripod and went back to the star party at the lake viewing platform to share the views of the excellent dark sky through my telescope.
A little later we were treated with a magnificent view of Zodiacal Light – the sunlight scattered by space dust in our Solar System. The triangle of faint glow was pointing at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy.
Then came Jupiter and the sunrise. You can see it all its glory in the time lapse animation below. The animation is made from 1090 30-second still exposures.
It was very enjoyable trip, the people of Sea Lake are just wonderful and the skies are truly dark.