Sirius, the Dog-star

September 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sirius, the Dog-star, is the brightest star in our night sky.  In ancient Egypt the star was known as Sopdet (Greek: Sothis).  Sothis was identified with the goddess Isis, who formed a trinity with her husband Osiris and their son Horus. The ancient Egyptians based their calendar on the heliacal rising of Sirius, which matches the length of our solar year.

The most commonly used proper name of this star comes from the the latin name Sīrius (derived from the Ancient Greek Σείριος, “seirios”, meaning “glowing” or “scorcher”). In Ancient Greece they observed that the rising of the Dog-star is during the hottest part of summer.  Because of its brightness during the hot summer, the star was thought to cause malignant influences during this period, people were said to be “star-struck” (αστροβολητος, “astroboletos”), described as  “burning” or “flaming” in literature. Pliny says that “The most powerful effects are felt on the earth from this star.” When it rises, the seas are troubled, the wines ferment, and still waters are set in motion (Book 2, Ch 40).  The whole sea is sensible to the rising of the star, in some places sea-weeds and fish can be seen floating on the surface because they have been thrown up from the bottom. Among the river-fish, the silurus is said to be particularly affected by the rising of the Dog-star (and at other times set to sleep by thunder) (Book 18, Ch 58). Sirius’ effects on trees has been mentioned before here, regarding favorable times for the felling of trees, and that it causes grafts and young trees to pine away and die (see: The diseases of trees).

Pliny also says that dogs are particularly prone to become rabid during this period. He claims that canine madness is fatal to man during the heat of Sirius and that this is proven by the fact that those bitten have a deadly horror of water. (Book 8, Ch 63). The 30-day period following the star’s appearance came to be known as the Dog days. There are accounts of sacrifices of puppies offered to Sirius, to lessen the malignant emanations of the stars.

In Chinese astrology Sirius is known as the star of the “celestial wolf”.


Occurrences of Sky Phenomena (2)

April 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’m in a house that I’ve been in before (in another dream). It’s a white wooden house with two floors. There are many windows on each floor. It’s a light airy house, as if it’s always summer here. On the second floor there is a balcony (or two). I’m looking out through a window of the back of the house and on the evening sky, which is a bluish turquoise, there’s a gigantic moon. It is the biggest moon I’ve ever seen; a large disk in the sky that easily could fit five or six suns; the disk is magenta-coloured, hovering low over the horizon, partly visible through the window. I feel exhilarated, uplifted, I run to find my camera, and to go outside, where I can get a clear shot. I seem to forget the moon, and my camera, as soon as other things come in the way.

Super Moon

March 19, 2011 § 3 Comments

I photographed the supermoon. Now, the moon is closer to the earth than it has been in 18 years.

Due to clouds and snow I missed out on the Geminids meteor shower and the lunar eclipse in December, but tonight the skies were clear enough and dark enough.

The Geminids

December 13, 2010 § 1 Comment

“Geminids are slower than other shooting stars and are known to make beautiful long arcs across the sky. This could be because they’re born of debris from a dormant comet and so are made mostly of hard, sun-baked rock that takes longer to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere, experts suggest.”

An almost unreal Geminid, from last year’s meteor shower: National Geographic

“Go outside, find a dark spot and look NNE near the constelation of Gemini for the Geminids radiant. The best time to view the Geminids is from around midnight to dawn. They are of average speed but very colourful.”

2010 the meteor shower is peaking on the 13th and 14th of December

Occurrences of Sky Phenomena

October 25, 2010 § 2 Comments

I’m looking out through the window of the car. I can see a comet in the sky, faintly. It’s getting brighter and brighter, and I say to the others that “the comet is on fire”.


My grandmother is on her deathbed. I have to get to her house before she dies. I run with a friend to my family’s house, but it’s the middle of the night and everyone in my family is fast asleep. A crescent moon is visible against the black sky. While I am looking at it, the ‘C’ Moon is reversed, from left to right. My friend takes the car parked outside my house, and we drive back.


I’m watching the sky at night. I can see three celestial bodies next to each other in a line. The moon is on the right, Saturn in the middle. I can clearly see the surface of the third planet, the one on the left; it is blue and white, with land continents and oceans. I look away and I look at it again. The planet on the left must be Earth, but I don’t understand how that is possible. I reckon that, somehow, Earth is reflected onto the sky. The image in the sky is suddenly a lot bigger, as if closer now. When I turn, I see the Earth globe turn too, spinning around in the sky, as if connected to my movements.


I’m outside of the school. I see a cluster of stars on the sky. They’re burning brighter and brighter, and they start to spin ’round until they appear to have blended together into a white spot shining with a bright light. This phenomenon repeats itself over and over again, as I lie in the grass watching it. I look towards my house, and on the balcony there are other people watching the sky too.

I reach out. He pulls his arm away from me. My spirit sinks, disheartened. He is even more beautiful to me now, in this dream, than he is in real life. I look towards the sun. It looks like fractals.

The Moon

October 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

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