Interesting facts about the star Sirius

(ORDO NEWS) — The constellation Canis Major includes the brightest star in the night sky, Sirius (also Sirius A or α Canis Major), a bluish-white star located 8.611 light-years from Earth . Sirius radiates 20 times more energy than our Sun.

In fact, Sirius A has a companion star, the white dwarf Sirius B, which is about 10,000 times dimmer. This explains why we do not observe Sirius B with the naked eye when we are on Earth.

Quick Facts

  • 6 h 45 m 8.9 s (right ascension), -1642’52.1 (declination);
  • Spectral type: blue-white main sequence star (A1 V);
  • Distance to Earth: 8,611 light years;
  • Rotation speed: 16 kilometers per second;
  • Radius: 1,190,915 kilometers (1.7 times the radius of the Sun);
  • Surface temperature: about 9667 degrees Celsius
  • Mass: 2.02 times the mass of the Sun;
  • Luminosity: 25 times the luminosity of the Sun.

Sirius in history

Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky , located southeast of the constellation Orion, which is visible from all parts of the earth’s surface. Because of this distinctive feature, the star Sirius played an important role in the life of ancient civilizations.

In ancient Egypt, for example, Osiris, the god of life, death, fertility and rebirth, was associated with Sirius (the Egyptians called Sirius the star of the Goddess Isis), because every year, just before the heliacal sunrise (rise with the Sun) of the star of the Goddess Isis, the Nile river came out from the shores.

And while the flood often brought death and destruction, it also led to the rebirth of the Nile Valley, covering the coast with a layer of fertile silt. The heliacal rising of Sirius also marked the beginning of the new year.

Like the Egyptians, the ancient Greeks and Romans associated this season with hot, sultry weather known as “Dog Days” (July 3 to August 11), since Sirius is the “nose” of the constellation Canis Major.

However, they erroneously assumed that the Earth was getting hotter on Dog Days due to the combined heat and luminosity from Sirius and the Sun.

Some observers believed that various diseases were activated on Dog Days, and the sick were said to be “struck by the stars” or suffering from “astroboletozor”. As Homer wrote in his Iliad:

“Sirius rises late in the dark, liquid sky on
Summer nights, a star of stars, the
Dog of Orion, as he is called, the brightest
Of all, but an ill omen, bringing heat
And fever to suffering mankind.”

Interesting facts about the star Sirius 2

About 70 BC. e. the ancient Greek mathematician and astronomer Gemin put forward a more scientific explanation for this phenomenon:

“It is commonly believed that Sirius is responsible for the heat of Dog Days, but this is misleading, since the star simply marks the time of year when the sun’s heat warms the Earth the most.”

Sirius in mythology

The star Sirius is well represented in the mythologies of many cultures, and references to it can be traced back to Neolithic times. For the ancient Greeks, Sirius in Canis Major was the faithful hunting dog of Orion, who every night helped his master hunt the constellation Hare.

However, one of the most enchanting stories associated with Sirius comes from India, where the star is known as “Svana”, the faithful dog of Prince Yudhistira.

The legend tells of a journey that Prince Yudhistira (in the company of his dog Svana) and his four brothers once undertook to find the Kingdom of Heaven. However, the journey proved too difficult for the brothers, each of whom abandoned the search in favor of earthly pleasures and desires.

After a long and dangerous journey, the prince found the entrance to paradise, but Indra, the king of the gods and the lord of the heavenly kingdom, did not allow the dog Svana to enter paradise with his master, Prince Yudhistira.

The frustrated prince told Indra about the difficulties encountered during the journey, and how the brothers left him, but Svan’s faithful companion continued to follow absolutely voluntarily.

And if Indra considers that the dog is unworthy to enter heaven, then Yudhistira will be forced to refuse. Indra, after listening to the story, recognized the purity of the hearts of Svana and Yudhistira and let them both into paradise, where, as the story goes, they live to this day.

Mysterious Sirius

Long before Sirius was proven to have a small white dwarf companion, the Dogon (a people in southeastern Mali, Africa) placed Sirius and his companion at the center of their religion.

For example, they knew that both stars revolve around a common center of mass with a period of about 50 years (modern refinement showed that the period is 50.04 years). In addition, the Dogon claimed that Sirius also rotates around its axis.

Interesting facts about the star Sirius 3

Notably, the Dogon predict the existence of a third star in the system, named “Emme Ya,” meaning “sorghum woman,” but to date, no telescope has been able to find evidence of it.

The Dogon also tell stories of spaceships that brought sentient aliens to Earth in the distant past, and they cite the many rock paintings adorning the surrounding mountains as evidence.

The Dogon believe that they received knowledge about Sirius from aliens, but scientists are sure that the knowledge was obtained from Chinese sailors who visited the land of the Dogon about 500 years ago.

Be that as it may, the star Sirius will shine in the sky for many more millions of years, during which it will no doubt become the heroine of new legends.

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