In a position in which each word must be balanced against the fine weight of the gold leaf adorning the Foreign Office's Locarno Room, Johnson is a coalsack
on the featherweight scales.
How often have we read that the complex of Milky Way dust clouds composing the Great Rift broadens into the Northern Coalsack
, then ends at Deneb?
To many Aboriginal language groups across Australia, the Coalsack
(which is a dark nebula next to the Southern Cross) represents the head of the Emu in the Sky, an Aboriginal 'constellation' that stretches from the head to the body and legs, through the dark lanes in the Milky Way, to the constellation Scorpius (Norris and Norris 2009:5-6).
Dark regions within the band, such as the Great Rift and the Coalsack
, correspond to areas where light from distant stars is blocked by interstellar dust.
The Magellanic clouds in the south, the Southern Cross with the Coalsack
clearly distinguishable and the magnificent starfields of the Crux region; even Omega Centauri and 47 Tucanae were all easily visible without the intervention of a pair of binoculars.
We are visited, too, by flying lemurs, clumsy-looking creatures that launch themselves from the canopy with all the finesse of a hurled coalsack
. The Da-an won't kill these animals, and attribute strange powers to them: their call at night foretells the death of a traveller who hears it.
GLOBULE B AND CB180--MODELING LARGE-SCALE DISTRIBUTION AND PROPERTIES OF DUST GRAINS IN DARK NEBULAR CORES.
In contrast, the Coalsack
, which sprawls between Alpha and Beta, is a region apparently devoid of stars.
, winner of the Carlos Pellegrini in 1998, stayed on for third, another four lengths back.
"The Light and the Dark: A Reassessment of the Discovery of the Coalsack
Nebula, the Magellanic Clouds and the Southern Cross." Annals of Science 47:529-560.
They are known variously as the Snake, the Horsehead, the Coalsack
. Darkness is not an absence but a rich and dense presence, a kind of cosmic chocolate, a forest of stellar events whose existence is known only by its invisibility.
This panorama, captured near Christchurch, New Zealand, shows Alpha and Beta Centauri (the bright pair on the Milky Way's band at lower left), the Southern Cross and Coalsack
(left of center), the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (below center), Canopus (right of center), and Sirius (upper right).