Sirius B (was: Digest V1 #880 then Why I love DWJ)

Belben Philip Philip.Belben at
Fri Sep 17 02:47:54 EDT 2004

>> Oh yes, I've just remembered that my one-time astro-phsicist partner
>> read Dogsbody and said it was quite accurate about what we know about
>> zois.
> We know something about zois?? It's quite right of course that Sirius
> has a 'companion', Sirius B - and there's even a theory (Robert Temples
> *The Sirius Mystery*, 1976 I think) that this was the source of early
> alien visitors to this planet! I don't know if DWJ knew about the
> latter, mind.

AFAIK, "Compainion of Sirius" was a quite early name for Sirius B: 1930s or
earlier, I'd guess, before we knew much about white dwarfs, or any stars off
the main sequence, for that matter.

IIRC Sirius B was the first white dwarf to be discovered, and at the time
nobody really knew what it was.  I think it's in "The Wonder Book of
Science", late 1920s, that there is a wonderful remark (please forgive the
poor paraphrase - my copy of the book is 400 miles away):

     It had always been merely an assumption that other stars would have
     planets like ours, until the recent discovery of an apparent planet
     around Sirius.

But Beck - do tell us more about zoi, when you have a chance!  I've been
daydreaming about zoi, and what one might do with them, every time I've read
Dogsbody over the last quarter-century or more.

Philip (who has finally given in to the temptation to make a truly awful pun
on "The Dog(on) Star")

PS the real howler in Dogsbody is "Schist and Gneiss are igneous formations
of the precambrian era."  No they're not!  They're metamorphic.  And Schist
is usually more recent; I can't remember typical ages, but Gneiss has
undergone more metamorphosis than Schist.
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