Since very early times Sirius was a point of attraction in the night sky. It served to synchronize calendars in antiquity and was the subject of many myths and legends. Sirius is a very bright star which argues in favor of it being the target of detailed studies of stellar structure and evolution. Its binary nature, with a companion that is one of the more massive white dwarfs, is an additional reason for such studies.
Title: Sirius Matters
Author: Noah Brosch
Published: June 21, 2008
Contents of ‘Sirius Matters’ by Noah Brosch
List of figures
List of tables
2 Historical perspective
2.2 Egypt and the ancient Middle East
2.3 Ancient Greece and Rome 20
2.4 Africa and Arabia
2.5 India,China, and the Far East
2.6 North and South America
2.7 Polynesia and Australia
2.8 Jewish connections
3 Mysteries of the Sirius system
3.1 The issue of historical redness
3.2 Explanations for redness
3.3 The binary nature of Sirius
3.4 The Dogon tribe and a modern Sirius mystery
4 Approaching modern times
4.1 The discovery of Sirius B: a tale of gravity
4.2 A third body in the Sirius system?
4.3 Modern searches for a third companion
4.4 Conclusions 88
5 Modern optical measurements
5.1.1 The Hipparcos Satellite
5.3.2 Magnetic field
5.3.3 Gravitational Redshift and Spectra of Sirius B
5.4 Conclusions 117
6 Modern non-optical observations
6.2 UV and EUV measurements
6.3 High energy observations
6.4 Basic stellar parameters
7 The neighborhood of Sirius
7.1 Interstellar matter
7.2 Very small LISM structures in the Milky Way
7.3 Stars in the neighborhood of Sirius
8 The perspective of stellar structure
8.1 Upper main-sequence stars and Sirius A
8.2 White dwarfs and Sirius B
9 The perspective of stellar evolution
9.1 Evolution of a main-sequence A star: Sirius A
9.2 Evolution of a white dwarf: Sirius B
9.3 Binary star evolution: Sirius as population representative
9.4 Conclusions 183
10 Sirius revealed – a synthesis of the information
10.1 Sirius analogs
10.2 Sirius – basic data
10.3 Synthesis of information
10.3.1 Specific models for Sirius
10.3.2 Red color in antiquity
The ages-old astronomical interest in the Sirius star system is completely understandable. Not only is it the brightest star in the night sky it also expresses orbital motion that can be of interest to night-time sky watchers.
Up until not so long ago the instrumentation available to astronomers to monitor and chart the activity of Sirius has been somewhat limited.
However with the relatively recent development of deep reach telescopes and electronic survaillance radio monitoring equipment a much clear picture can be drawn of the main star Sirius A and its associated planetary bodies.
This has changed everything and so it now becomes possible to reveal some of the science that lies behind the beauty of the shining light we see in the night sky.
‘Sirius Matters’ by Noah Brosch is a publication that will be of primary interest to astronomers with a keen interest in the star and with some degree of knowledge in astral matters. To an amateur such as myself the depth to which this publications goes is well out of my field but I know enough about the subject to recognise that this is a skillfully and thoughtfully reasoned treatise into the Sirius star system.
To the average layman this book does not offer a great deal of new material regarding the mystical aspects of the star but it sure does provide the reader with some astounding technical information and some equally absorbing historical material about a stellar body that has fascinated astronomers for millenia.
For those students interested in the Sirian star system and who may not have a pull towards esoteric matters this book offers many treasures. It is beautifully researched and intelligently presented without talking over the readers’ head or leading the student up sticky avenues. All sources have been fully credited and with the addition of charts, tables and photos the information is presented in a logical and practical way.
It was interesting to see the addition of material regarding the possible connection between the Dogon tribe of Africa and Sirius but the author appears to be generally happy with the research of Robert K Temple in this regard. There is a section on possible reasons for Sirius orignally being described as a red rather than blue star which to my mind may clear up only one part of this mystery but these are not primary lines of astronomical thought. In the main the thrust of this book is less speculative and more scientific.
As for drawbacks? Well the primary one is that is very expensive to purchase. I did manage to track down a reasonably priced second hand hardback copy from the United States for this review but I understand it will soon be republished in paperback and hopefully at a price that would make its available to a less-specialised market. It is a first-class publication that really needs to be appreciated by a much wider audiance beyond the tightly-knit community of astrophysicists. It is because of its price that I have refrained from giving it four rather than five stars. However, if you are prepared to shell out for your own copy I am sure you will find plenty within its pages to justify its cost.