Google Earth confirms Dreamtime legend. (Hat tip: Fungus)
NDIGENOUS Australians might have been some of the earliest astronomers with a meteorite crater confirming a Dreamtime legend, a scientist has found.
Duane Hamacher, a PhD candidate at Macquarie University in Sydney, found a bowl-shaped crater in Palm Valley - about 130km south-west of Alice Springs - by searching for it on Google Earth after being tipped off by Aboriginal Dreamtime stories.
"Indigenous Australians tell lots of stories about stars falling out of the sky with a noise like thunder - and one of the stories gave a location in the Northern Territory," the astronomer told the Northern Territory News.
"I searched for it on Google Earth, but when I really found something looking like a crater I couldn't believe it.
"I was very hesitant with excitement as I thought I would look like an idiot if it was just something simple - but it wasn't. It was a crater."
When visiting the site with a team of geophysicists and astrophysicists, Mr Hamacher and his team found evidence of Palm Valley being an ancient meteorite crater.
Mr Hamacher said the discovery of a connection between Dreamtime stories and reality was an exciting one.
"Lots of Aboriginal Dreamtime stories are associated with craters, meteorites and cosmic impacts and although some craters are millions of years old and people would not have been able to witness the impact, it seems as if traditional dreaming stories know about the crater's origin."
One of the stories - which tells of a star that fell into a waterhole called Puka in the valley, where Kulaia the serpent lived - had led to the discovery of the ancient crater, but there were "many, many more", Mr Hamacher said.