Friday, March 21, 2008

WeHo Field Guide: Sirius, the Dog Star

Last week, I took the dog for a 10 pm walk and noticed an unusually bright, twinkling object just left of the constellation Orion. Was it a plane?, I wondered. A UFO? A top secret government WMD?

No!

It's Sirius, the Dog Star!

Sirius is the brightest object in the sky and is not one star but two; a binary star system consisting of a white main sequence star (Sirius A) and a faint white dwarf star (Sirius B). The Sirius star system is one of the closest to our own solar system.

Sirius is part of the constellation Canis Major, Orion's canine hunting companion (thus its nickname, the Dog Star).

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Orion and Canis Major are about to beat down Taurus.

The heliacal rising of Sirius marked important events for early civilizations:

  • the flooding of the Nile in Ancient Egypt (and the beginning of the Egyptian calendar year)
  • the hottest and dryest days of summer (aka 'Dog Days') in Ancient Greece
  • the beginning of winter in Polynesia, where it was an important tool for navigation (Sirius was known as Ka'ulua ("Queen of Heaven") in Hawaii, and was celebrated at the winter solstice.)

6 comments:

University of Southern California Squirrels said...

We love these field guide to Weho posts, keep them up!

Question: will you branch into Social Science / Culture field guide posts, either we'll stay reading?

University of Southern California Squirrels said...

Um- err.

We got a typo there on the last one, we aren't asking if we will read your future posts (what the question mark would signify.),

instead we are excitedly telling you that we will be reading your future posts! So let's do a swaperoo on the ? and put in a ! (or !!, for that matter).

Sorry for the confusion-

Mel said...

Yay! Stay tuned for more, WeHo field guide will be brieftly interrupted by GBD in NYC...

oregonpeachgirls said...

the dogon tribe in africa have always known about that star system.there is not doubt that sirius is some how connected to us humans in more ways then most of us want to know!! i am sure that 2012 is some going to bring that star system to the for front and force us to rethink everything we think we know...great web site!!!ryanburd@comcast.net

Ana said...

In Alchemy of nine dimensions, the 2011/2012 prophecies, crop circles and the nine dimensions of consciousness by Barbara Hand Clow one may find very interesting and really useful information regarding Sirius star system and others as well.

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