The Dogon, the Nommos and Sirius B
In Mali, West Africa, lives a tribe of people
called the Dogon. The Dogon are believed to be of Egyptian decent
and their astronomical lore goes back thousands of years to
3200 BC. According to their traditions, the star Sirius has
a companion star which is invisible to the human eye. This companion
star has a 50 year elliptical orbit around the visible Sirius
and is extremely heavy. It also rotates on its axis.
This legend might be of little interest to anybody
but the two French anthropologists, Marcel Griaule and Germain
Dieterlen, who recorded it from four Dogon priests in the 1930's.
Of little interest except that it is exactly true. How did a
people who lacked any kind of astronomical devices know so much
about an invisible star? The star, which scientists call Sirius
B, wasn't even photographed until it was done by a large telescope
The Dogon stories explain that also. According
to their oral traditions, a race people from the Sirius system
called the Nommos visited Earth thousands of years ago. The
Nommos were ugly, amphibious beings that resembled mermen and
mermaids. They also appear in Babylonian, Accadian, and Sumerian
myths. The Egyptian Goddess Isis, who is sometimes depicted
as a mermaid, is also linked with the star Sirius.
The Nommos, according to the Dogon legend, lived
on a planet that orbits another star in the Sirius system. They
landed on Earth in an "ark" that made a spinning decent to the
ground with great noise and wind. It was the Nommos that gave
the Dogon the knowledge about Sirius B.
legend goes on to say the Nommos also furnished the Dogon's
with some interesting information about our own solar system:
That the planet Jupiter has four major moons, that Saturn has
rings and that the planets orbit the sun. These were all facts
discovered by Westerners only after Galileo invented the telescope.
The story of the Dogon and their legend was first
brought to popular attention by Robert K.G. Temple in
a book published in 1977 called The Sirius Mystery. Science
writer Ian Ridpath and astronomer Carl Sagan made
a reply to Temple's book, suggesting that this modern knowledge
about Sirius must have come from Westerners who discussed astronomy
with the Dogon priests. The priests then included this new information
into the older traditions. This, in turn, mislead the anthropologists.
This is a possibility considering Sirius B's existence
was suspected as early as 1844 and seen was through a telescope
in 1862. It doesn't seem to explain a 400-year old Dogon artifact
that apparently depicts the Sirius configuration nor the ceremonies
held by the Dogon since the 13th century to celebrate the cycle
of Sirius A and B. It also doesn't explain how the Dogons knew
about the super-density of Sirius B, a fact only discovered
a few years before the anthropologists recorded the Dogon stories.
is also important to remember that although many parts of the
Dogon legends seem to ring true, other portions are clearly
mistaken. One of the Dogon's beliefs is that Sirius B occupied
the place where our Sun is now. Physics clearly prohibits this.
Also, if the Dogon believe that Sirius B orbits Sirius A every
50 years, why do they hold their celebrations every 60 years?
Sirius A is the brightest star in our sky and
can easily be seen in the winter months in the northern hemisphere.
Look for the constellation Orion. Orion's belt are the three
bright stars in a row. Follow an imaginary line through the
three stars to Sirius which is just above the horizon. It is
bluish in color.
Sirius is only 8.6 light years from Earth. Astronomer
W.Bessel was the first to suspect that Sirius had an invisible
companion when he observed that the path of the star wobbled.
In the 1920's it was determined that Sirius B, the companion
of Sirius, was a "white dwarf" star. The pull of its gravity
caused Sirius's wavy movement.
White dwarfs are small, dense stars that burn
dimly. Sirius B is, in fact, smaller than the planet Earth.
One teaspoon of Sirius B is so dense that it weighs 5 tons.
So did alien fish-men pay a visit to ancient Earth
and give the Dogon their knowledge? Or was the Dogon's culture
contaminated by western visitors? Or could the Dogon's have
had ancient technical or non-technical means to find this information
out? Or is the whole thing just a matter of coincidence?
The question maybe settled as larger and more
powerful telescopes take a look at the Sirius system. According
to the legend there is a third star: Sirius C, and it is around
Sirius C that the home planet of the Nommos orbits. Most scientists
do not consider any part of the Sirius system a prime candidate
for life, though.
When Temple first issued his book in the 1970's
there was no solid evidence of a Sirius C. In 1995, however,
two French researchers, Daniel Benest and J.L. Duvent,
authored an article in the prestigious journal Astronomy
and Astrophysics with the title Is Sirius a Triple
Star? and suggested (based on observations of motions
in the Sirius system) there is a small third star there. They
thought the star was probably of a type known as a "red dwarf"
and only had about .05 the mass of Sirius B.
So has the home star of the Nommos been discovered?
Or is this just another strange coincidence?
Book: The Sirius Mystery: New Scientific Evidence
Copyright Lee Krystek
1998. All Rights Reserved.