In 1768 the British Admiralty sent Captain James Cook to the Pacific to monitor the transit of the planet Venus across the Sun. On his way home to England, Cook mapped Australia’s east coast, and claimed New South Wales.
For about 40,000 years before that, the indigenous peoples of Australia had been developing remarkably sophisticated explanations of the workings of the Southern Sky.
And just 200 years afterwards, an independent Australia was at the forefront of radio astronomy and receiving the first signals from the Moon.
Today Australian astronomers continue to unravel the mysteries in the southern sky.
Read about their achievements in Southern Skies Unlimited: Australian Astronomy 2011. It’s Science in Public’s latest collection of stories of Australian science and is available in print and online.
The first set of stories are online here now, and the balance will appear in the coming weeks.