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These are largely based on the mythology of the ancient Greeks. But they share remarkable similarities with the constellations of the oldest living cultures on the planet.
Hunters and sisters
One of the most easily recognisable constellations is Orion. In Greek mythology, the boastful hunter was killed by a giant scorpion.
Orion is constantly pursuing the seven sisters of the Pleiades. In the sky, Orion is defending himself from the charging bull Taurus, represented by the V-shaped Hyades star cluster. The Hyades are daughters of Atlas and sisters of the Pleiades.
In Wiradjuri Aboriginal traditions of central New South Wales, Baiame is the creation ancestor, seen in the sky as Orion - nearly identical in shape to his Greek counterpart. Baiame trips and falls over the horizon as the constellation sets, which is why he appears upside down.
The Pleiades are called Mulayndynang in Wiradjuri, representing seven sisters being pursued by the stars of Orion.
In Aboriginal traditions of the Great Victoria Desert, Orion is also a hunter, Nyeeruna. He is pursuing the Yugarilya sisters of the Pleiades but is prevented from reaching them by their eldest sister, Kambugudha (the Hyades).
Scorpions and canoes
In Greek mythology, the scorpion that killed Orion sits opposite the hunter in the night sky as the constellation Scorpius. They were placed on opposite sides of the sky by the gods to keep them away from one other.
A comparable relationship can be found in the traditions of the Torres Strait Islanders. The culture hero, Tagai, killed his 12-man fishing crew (Zugubals) in a rage for breaking traditional law, before they all ascended into the sky.
Tagai is standing on his canoe, formed by the stars of Scorpius. The Zugubals are represented by two groups of six stars: the belt/scabbard stars of Orion (Seg) and the Pleiades (Usiam). Tagai placed the Zugubals on the opposite side of the sky to keep them far away from him.
Another famous constellation is Gemini, the twins, denoted by the bright stars Castor and Pollux.