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Can the Sirius Star System Support Life?

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Sirius system

Sirius system

The Sirius System

In 1976, a book was written by Robert Temple called The Sirius Mystery. It suggests that the Dogon tribe of Africa had advanced astronomical knowledge given to them by extraterrestrials from Sirius.

There were certainly a lot of anomalies surrounding the knowledge of the Dogon tribe. They knew of the existence of a second star that was not visible to the naked eye, and the Dogon had no telescopes. It was postulated that they also knew the existence of a third star in the Sirius system that is completely undetected to this day. The existence of this knowledge, as well as several other pieces of information, was cited as proof that the Dogon tribe had been visited and influenced by extraterrestrials (called the Nommo—an amphibian race).

The book is well written, and it would take a while to properly research all the data to determine its validity. But what does the raw science say? Can the Sirius star system actually sustain life?


So What Do We Know for Sure?

So what do we know for sure?

Sirius is a known binary star system. This means that there are two stars in this system. The main star is a Class A (White) star called 'Sirius A', there is a companion star—'Sirius B'—which is a white dwarf star roughly 20 AU (astronomical unit) away from Sirius A currently and has an orbit of 49.9 years. The system is roughly 300 million years old. (1) Sirius A has a habitable zone of between 2 and 5 AU, otherwise known as the 'Goldilocks Zone'. Any planet closer than 2 AU, and it would be too hot; farther out than 5 AU, and it would be too cold to support life.

The age of the star system is important. Scientists have put the age of the Sirius system at roughly 300 million years old. Our solar system is 4.5 billion years old to give an idea of how long it may take for life to develop normally to the stage it has on Earth.

Be careful when making this comparison, however, as Earth has suffered numerous extinction-level events throughout its history that may or may not be common in other star systems. However, even keeping that in mind, 300 million years is barely long enough for planets to form, never mind life forming on that planet.

This means that any planet orbiting Sirius A would be a young world. It would have warm, shallow oceans, and any continents formed would be small, with little or no erosion, and volcanic. The planet would have a thick and very humid atmosphere, and this environment would be dominated by a bright sun beaming out sterilizing ultraviolet light. At the bottom of these oceans, protected from the white sun's detrimental effects, simple forms of bacterial life could gain a toehold nourished by hydrothermal vents from the planet's interior. How long does it take to develop into more complex life?

Add to this the fact that Sirius A's lifespan in its current configuration—otherwise known as its main sequence lifetime (MSL)—is only 1 billion years, and 300 million years have already passed, and we can assume that no life that formed on any planet in the habitable zone would live long as in 700 million years all planets in existence today around Sirius A will be destroyed when it reaches the end of its MSL.

So the age says that the prospect of life in the Sirius star system is low, but what about the stars themselves?

The Sirius star system

The Sirius star system

Is There a Third Star?

As stated, it is known for sure that Sirius has two stars, with a possibility for a third, but let's focus on the two science knows about for sure right now. Sirius A is a spectral type A star—also known as a white star. These stars have a high mass and burn brighter and hotter than our sun, which is a class G (yellow) star; because of this, they tend to consume the supply of hydrogen faster and thus are shorter lived. They tend to give off a lot of ultraviolet light, severely restricting biological evolution. (2) (3)

Sirius B is a white dwarf on a 49.9-year orbit of Sirius A, and during that orbit is between 8 and 31 AU distance from Sirius A. This star would give off similar brightness and radiation to Sirius A and, when it is closest to Sirius A, would be a very strong 'second sun' for any planet near the outer rim of the Goldilocks Zone for Sirius A. The existence of a second white dwarf star in the Sirius system would seem to suggest that the possibility of life is extremely remote indeed.

But wait, there is a supposed third star in the Sirius system. According to Robert Temple's Dogon information, this should be a red dwarf star. He was so certain of it that he made the following quote:

"If a Sirius-C is ever discovered and found to be a red dwarf, I will conclude that the Dogon information has been fully validated."

So, what about that third star? Well, funny you should ask that. Gravitational studies done in 1995 showed a possible Brown Dwarf star orbiting Sirius A every 6 years. Could this be the elusive Sirius C spoken about by the Dogon? ( 4)

However, before we lose ourselves too much in determining the effects this third star would have on any planets in the Goldilocks Zone, it should be noted that a more recent study published in 2008 and using advanced infrared imaging technology came to the conclusion that Sirius probably did not have a third star. I say probably as the survey of the entire system was not fully complete having a region roughly 5 AU from Sirius A being unexplored. (5)



The Sirius Mystery Continues

So, in conclusion, I would have to say that due to the relatively young age of the Sirius system, combined with the extreme challenges to life development in a Class A star system, and the problems presented by Sirius B roaming through the system every 49.9 years, the probability of even simple life in the Sirius system is highly unlikely—never mind an advanced aquatic species capable of traveling the 8.6 light years to Earth. I do not say it isn't there, just that it is highly unlikely that the Sirius star system can support life in any advanced form unless, of course, this life took the form of a purely aquatic life form capable of 'breathing' in the same way a fish does on our beloved Earth.

How the Dogon got the knowledge they got regarding Sirius is unknown. Was it actually from 'The Nommo'—that aquatic species that is supposed to be native to Sirius? Was it a wandering band of astrologists that came to the Dogon territory to sky watch who gave them the info? After all, the Dogon has been around since the Sumerians, and there have been many civilizations since then that had astrological capabilities in that part of the world; they could have picked that up from them. How they got it is unknown, but they did have it. Did the info come from Sirius itself? That is an interesting question.

In the future, more information may reveal more insights. In 1976, when the book was written, it was dismissed outright as nonsense. But is it? Since his writing of his book, the second star has been 100% confirmed, the third star has not been mathematically ruled out, and indeed, gravitational studies in the 90s did show that something was there.

The Sirius Mystery continues . . .

For Further Reading on This Fascinating Subject

Referenced Material

  1. Liebert, J.; Young, P. A.; Arnett, D.; Holberg, J. B.; Williams, K. A. (2005). "The Age and Progenitor Mass of Sirius B". The Astrophysical Journal )
  2. Benest, D., 1989: Planetary orbits in the elliptic restricted problem. II - The Sirius system. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 223, 361
  3. Benest, D., 1993: Stable planetary orbits around one component in nearby binary stars. II Celestial Mechanics, 56, 45
  4. Benest, D., & Duvent, J. L. (1995) 'Is Sirius a Triple Star'. Astronomy and Astrophysics 299: 621-628
  5. Bonnet-Bidaud, J. M.; Pantin, E. (October 2008). "ADONIS high contrast infrared imaging of Sirius-B". Astronomy and Astrophysics 489: 651–655. arXiv:0809.4871. Bibcode 2008A&A...489..651B. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20078937.

© 2013 Robin Olsen


Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on August 14, 2020:

you are reading books that, if they were written by ancients, were written a very long time ago in a language other than the English language you are reading it in and have been translated and re-translated many times during that period. You dismiss as rubbish our own human exploration and the results of said explorations over the writings of ancient texts you could never hope to translate and cannot even properly validate...but they do tell a great story eh? You are free to believe what you wish.. as is everyone.

Klint Shayler from United kingdom on August 10, 2020:

It is wrong for astronomers to say that our star system SOL is older the Sirius star system when the truth is we do NOT know.

The claim that Sirius is a young star comes from university astronomers and I am shocked that most people have accepted their rubbish as if it is fact. To say that the Sirius star system is only 300 million years old is speculation and dogma just like a religion because the people making the claim have provided no proof. The truth is that we know very little about ourselves and space. Astronomers are making absolute statements about the universe when we have NOT even developed space travel yet because we are still using fossil fuels and chemical rockets. We do NOT know how life could have developed in the universe. Our star system Sol is NOT stable and is prone to extinction events. I prefer to listen to ancients than some astronomers that are making assumptions about our universe. These astronomers literally pull numbers out of thin air and expect us to just accept their claims as fact. They say that Sirius has only orbited the galaxy once so it MUST be young but that is an assumption because knowledge comes from experience and none of these astronomers have witnessed Sirius being born or orbiting our galaxy. So Astronomy today is NOT scientific instead Astronomy is full of Dogma and assumptions. The truth is that we do NOT know how old Sirius is and my opinion is that the Sirius star system is older than our Star system called Sol.

I prefer to listen to the ancients and the things that they have said about the star system of Sirius. The star system of Sirius is more stable than our Star system sol. Sirius is also older than our star system Sol. The Sirius star system is a triple star system and there are planets with both amphibious beings and reptilian beings and also human beings with dark skin.

The rubbish that is promoted as mainstream science shocks me.

People are making claims such as Sirius being a young star when they have NO proof because they did NOT witness the birth of the Sirius star system.

Clay Everhart on July 22, 2020:

I believe that the inhabitants of Sirius came from a star system that had deteriorated to the point that the inhabitants had to find somewhere new to live. And what attracted them to Sirius is the planets Goldie Locks (habitable) zone. This is a great article and I learned a lot from it. Thank you.

Vada on June 07, 2020:


So while I am not suggesting there are aliens in Sirius and even if there are that they visited us.

I do have to point on one weak point on your argument against. It only take 1 to 10 Million years for a planet to be formed (300 Million is plenty of time) and it believed that life here on Earth began some 100 Million years after the earth was formed.

Sure, there is no known evidence of any "intelligent life" on our planet up until some 3 Million years ago or so. Although, I suppose you could dispute there is still no intelligent life here on earth.

However, we really don't know why it took so long for intelligent life to emerge here, but that doesn't mean it has to be so in other planets. Also, it could have been that intelligent life did arise on our planet several times, there is just no evidence of it left.

My point it that there could be intelligent life orbiting Sirius A. We don't know. If I were them I would probably stay well away from Earth.

Thanks for the post.

FARHAD on January 16, 2020:

I would like to say only Habel telescope and Nasa organisation can help us to find out about Sirius enigma .Sirius enigma is not simple enigma because many cults,mythologies even Freemasonry have spoken about it,Erich von daniken and another UFOlogists have discussed about it one time Wernher von braun had sayed when he was kid several times had dreamed about Sirius star.I believe if we find one planet suitible for life in Sirius solar systém in future maybe would resolve about Extraterrestians problém.

Rocco on July 04, 2019:

Sirius B was once a main sequence star 5.05 times larger than Sol, our sub - before Sirius A was even borthed out of its stellar nursery. The Sirius B supernova was 8.6 ly away so it stripped earth's ozone layer cobtributing to rise in global tempuratures that led to the End Ordovician Extinction.

Before Sirius B went supernova, and this is suggested and you even posted a picture of it, residual gravitational effects shows a Brown Dwarf like object, or what it reformed into after the Sirius Supernova blew it apart and it's asteroids recombined into a shallow husk of its former self, the illusive "Sirius C".

Like Jupiter, this brown dwarf could have had a Europa moon while Sirius A was still a Blue Newborn Star forming in it's stellar nursery, for near a billion years that "Europa of Sirius" would have been fine.

Bilbo66 on February 25, 2019:

I believe that originally - prior to Dynastic Egypt when Osiris was thought of as Orion - Osiris was thought of as Sirius A, Isis was Sirius B [large white dwarf], Nephthys was Sirius C [once a neutron star, now a black hole] and the Horus (the Son) is the sun. ... and that (as the binary star system to our sun) the centre of gravity was just off Sirius C. ... the Sirius star system being predominantly female (referred to collectively as Isis) attracts the sun.

Mushin on February 01, 2019:

How long would it take a planet to orbit Sirius A? Then, what about seasonal?

Ogsoimgo on January 15, 2019:

Since Cheops and its two sister pyramids represent Orion's belt, which is of no significance except that it points to Sirius, Rosicrucian and Masonry and other esoteric traditions believe it to be of importance. A lot to do about nothing.

p rod on September 19, 2018:

perhaps the advanced race of beings chose Sirius region because of its Goldilock zone, and they are much 'older' than the Star System they later chose to inhabit...who knows?

Daniel Webster on November 29, 2017:

That's why when anyone mentions aliens from Sirius or the Pleiades I dismiss it right out Sirius won't live long enough for anything more than single celled organism and the Pleiades won't even live that long unless there's some yellow and orange stars in the Pleiades and they would be infants too one thing becomes quite clear either the aliens and lying to them or they're lying to us

S. Townshend on November 19, 2017:

Who is to say the “Nommo” or amphibian life forms originated on Sirius? Perhaps they traveled there from necessity or exploration and colonized it? That has been their home world or base of operations for millions of years. Thus, they would consider it home. After all, if they can travel here then their scope seems to be boundless. I’m sure if they are real, they have visited many suitable worlds. Good luck!

Dianna Mendez on September 27, 2017:

Interesting thoughts on visitations from other planets. Your share on stars in fascinating.

Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on August 03, 2017:

Thanks for the comment Steven. As one poster above suggested one possibility is this was some sort of colony world and not the original world where this species developed...

Steven on August 02, 2017:

Presumably Sirius A and B would have formed at the same time, so for Sirius B to now be a white dwarf, it seems reasonable to assume that as a main sequence star it would have been considerably larger, brighter and hotter than Sirius A is now, as it reached the end of the main sequence much earlier.

If I assume it was a smaller than average type B star (next class of star bigger than a type A Sirius star on the Hertzsprung-Russel diagram, and smaller than average since it collapsed to a white dwarf rather than a neutron star) then it would would have had a life expectancy of perhaps 150 million years, give or take, and this fits plausibly with the estimated 300 million year age of the system.

So for the first 150 million years this system would have consisted of Sirius B, a small- medium type B star ( much larger than Sirius A, shining blue hot and putting out an enormous amount of energy, making the neighborhood around Sirius A extremely inhospitable) in addition to Sirius A.

When Sirius B had finished consuming hydrogen in the core, it would have likely started to collapse and become hotter, until the helium in the outer shell started to fuse, likely creating an enormous red giant star. When the helium, and other created fusible elements , possibly up to iron depending on star size had been fused, the star would then collapse under gravity once more, in this case to a white dwarf. This would have likely resulted in a nova, blowing off maybe 80% of the solar mass, sterilizing the stellar neighborhood.

So any life that my have got started around Sirius A would have suffered a massive blow.

That gives an estimated 150 million years from then till now to evolve our advanced alien species.

Given we seem to have taken 4,500 million years to have reached our current state of intelligence here, I'm skeptical to say the least about advanced life from Sirius :)

anna on July 06, 2017:

Mr. Robin Olsen, I recommend you The Book of Books, written by Robert Charroux. You will find out there about our real history. It's amazing.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on October 26, 2016:

Fascinating! It is always fun to learn about the elements of the universe. You did an excellent job researching this subject. I enjoyed reading about all the different types of stars.

PAUL on September 23, 2016:


johnmariow on July 22, 2016:

Excellent and fascinating report in the Sirius Star System. Life as we know it cannot exist in the Sirius Star System. But this does not mean that life has to be as we know it.

Rob Hampton from Port Richey, Florida on June 07, 2016:

Great article. I am FASCINATED with the universe. The Kepler is finding some interesting stuff. Too bad some of this stuff is millions of light years away! I'm sure though that there is life somewhere in closer proximity to us, not necessarily "intelligent" but at least like plant life, and smaller organisms. I'm 44 years old and I'm sure in my lifetime we'll find some definative form of extraterrestrial existence

Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on November 13, 2015:


Missy from The Midwest on November 12, 2015:

Interesting hub...

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on August 14, 2015:

This is a very well-researched article from the scientific standpoint. However, even scientists are beginning to study the possibility of dimensions and life in those dimensions. This article was written from the view that life would be of the 3rd dimension like earth. I doubt very seriously that 3D life would exist on any of the planets of Sirius, but I consider the possibility that life could exist in another dimension. I believe this information the Dogons have passed on is based on truth.

gene on August 02, 2015:

no. sirius system cannot suporrt life so you need to have oxygen tanks

Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on July 13, 2015:

Thanks Duke for the read. Even though the Sirius is only 300 million years old there is no indication that we even know how long it takes to develop intelligent life... the earth is 4.5 billion years old but for all we know there has been intelligent life here before us and it either left, or got wiped out in some sort of global catastrophe...we just don't know. There is a theory that humanity is suffering from a collective amnesia when it comes to our own history (we are missing huge chunks of it according to some). So how long does it take? Who really knows this?

Duke Walters on July 12, 2015:

Very good article. I have heard the story about the dogons many times and have read how scientists immediately discard it. One of the conclusions is that the Sirius star system is not old enough to have produced advanced ET intelligence. Based on our current understanding, that conclusion may be true or not. No way to know for sure. However, that is not the only explanation. Let's assume the Sirius system is not old enough to have developed advanced ET intelligence. Well, what if those ET's just settled there and originated somewhere else? That is a perfectly feasible explanation. If ET colonized the Sirius system as an extension of their civilization. Three hundred million years is more than plenty of time for an advanced ET race to prepare even the most barren of worlds for an advanced society. That type of planetary and astro engineering would certainly be within the reach of an advanced galactic race. Even if the Sirius system is 300M years old and that is not enough time for advanced ET life to develop, that proves nothing.

Debra Allen from West Virginia on February 05, 2015:

You did do your research and yes that can be lots of fun. I also so not strictly go with anything on Wiki because it can be edited by anyone. I also do not think that aliens would want to contact humans, especially the military....because all we know to do is kill first then ask questions. Though I have had an experience with aliens, twice and twice too many for me. I have had other things too, but will not say here.

There is so much that we do not know or that has been hidden for one reason or another. No one is an expert at anything only because things change as we learn more.

Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on April 14, 2014:

The sources for this info are located in the footnotes of the article itself.

Also, I never stated where the second star CURRENTLY is in the Sirius star system, only that it existed and it's orbital details were given. It may very well PRESENTLY be 20 AU away, who knows.

The problem with Wikipedia is the info is not vetted properly before it is published. I prefer to reference work that has been vetted by peers, etc. Gives me a greater sense of confidence when I do it this way

christopher on April 07, 2014:

Interesting. I'm always fascinated by Sirius because of the facts and conspiracies.

"Sirius B is a white dwarf on a 49.9 year orbit of Sirius A and during that orbit is between 8 and 31 AU distance from Sirius A." Wikipedia says Sirius B is about 20 AU away from Sirius A. May I know the source of how you obtained that information?

Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on February 25, 2014:

Muito obrigado. Fico feliz que você tenha gostado.

darioli on February 24, 2014:

muito bom, mui claro. Obrigado.

Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on December 04, 2013:

thank you loveofnight, I am glad you enjoyed it and learned something as I did when I was looking into this.

Loveofnight Anderson from Baltimore, Maryland on December 03, 2013:

this is definitely a very useful and interesting read. this is the first that i have heard on the topic so thank you for opening my eyes to something new.thanks much and happy hubbing

Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on August 21, 2013:

Excellent link, thanks for that nommo

Nommo on August 21, 2013:

Destroyed planets around Sirius-B ?

Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on July 29, 2013:

I think any surface life is doomed from the start with all the ultraviolet radiation present from two confirmed White stars (one's a dwarf) however I find it extremely interesting that in Robert Temple's book he described the species from Sirius as being the Nommo, an aquatic species and my research into this says that any life in Sirius would most likely be aquatic in nature.

jgreen9802 on July 26, 2013:

With more ultraviolet and X-ray radiation from Sirius than our Sun puts out, it is possible that any life on a planet in the Sirius system would evolve faster than it has here on Earth. Maybe in 300 million years, intelligent life could occur and they might have travelled here.


Dr Seth Shostak of SETI research admitted there are just 750 star systems studied for ET. Read full context:

Did SETI study Sirius system? Well researched article, thanks.

Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on January 13, 2013:

Thanks for your comments.

ohkennyabi from The East on January 12, 2013:

If the Dogon tribe had been around since the Sumerians, I think it is likely this knowledge of the Sirius system is gotten of from some unknown ancient civilization not known to us in the modern time. Perhaps more light will be shed over time as our pool of knowledge and discoveries increases. A very good Hubpage. Voted most useful and awesome.