Monday, February 08, 2010

Sirius Rising: To questions that dogged astronomers, a Sirius solution - The Boston Globe

To questions that dogged astronomers, a Sirius solution - via The Boston Globe, February 6, 2010, by Alan M. MacRobert, Globe correspondent and senior editor of Sky & Telescope magazine in Cambridge (SkyandTelescope.com). His Star Watch column appears the first Saturday of every month.

One astronomical problem from the ancient world is that Claudius Ptolemy in Alexandria listed Sirius as one of six bright stars in the heavens having a "sub-red" or fiery character. Whereas that description fits the other five stars listed by Ptolemy, Sirius is not reddish at all, but a bright white or blue-white star. Indeed, it is the brightest star in the heavens - as seen from Earth. So why did Ptolemy list it as a fiery reddish star?

What is a likely answer? Read the article to find out. Sorry about the misleading ad that pops up at that website - we generally avoid websites that permit this kind of advertising.

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