Dogon, the Nommos and Sirius B
|The Dogon are
a tribe living in Mali, West Africa.
one of their legends a race called the Nommos visited the
Earth from the star Sirius thousands of years ago.
|The Nommos were
ugly amphibious beings.
|The Dogon learned
from the Nommos that there was a companion star (Sirius
B) orbiting the main star. This legend supposedly goes back
hundreds of years.
|In 1970 scientists
discovered there was indeed a Sirius B, though they had
suspected its existence for over a century.
|This led K.G.
Temple to argue in his book, The Sirius Mystery,
that the legend must be true and aliens visited the Dogon.
argue that the Dogon incorporated this new information into
older legends and that the Sirius system is a very unlikely
place to support life.
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 in 1970.
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
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
The 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.
It 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?
The Sirius System
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
Copyright Lee Krystek 1998.