One of the brightest and most well-known star clusters is the Pleiades, in the constellation Taurus. In cultural traditions around the world including Aboriginal Australia, these stars are known as the Seven Sisters. Stories often describe them as a group of young women being pursued by a man in the constellation Orion, as they move from East to West each night.
In Yamaji traditions of Western Australia’s Murchison region, these stars are called Nyarluwarri in the Wajarri language. When Nyarluwarri sits low on the horizon at sunset, the people know that emu eggs are ready for harvesting. Yamaji people also predict seasonal rainfall by observing how bright or faded the star cluster is at certain times of the year – a practice shared by Indigenous Quechua people of South America.
Artist: Seven Jijas (sisters) by Wajarri-Noongar Artist Christine ‘Jugarnu’ Collard