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. 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. 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.
The Dogons are a people well known by their cosmogony, their esotericism, their myths and legends that interest foreigners at the highest point in search for culture or tourism. The population is assessed to be about 300,000 people living in the South West of the Niger loop in the region of Mopti in Mali (Bandiagara, Koro, Banka), near Douentza and part of the North of Burkina (North west of Ouahigouya).
The Dogon’s (Mali, Africa) homeland has been designated a World Heritage site for its cultural and natural significance. They are also famous for their artistic abilities and vast knowledge about astrology, especially the Sirius star, which is the center of their religious teachings. The Dogons know that Sirius A, the brightest system in our firmament, is next to a small white dwarf called Sirius B, which was not identified by western scientists until 1978. The Dogons knew about it at least 1000 years ago. Sirius B has formed the basis of the holiest Dogon beliefs since antiquity.
Western astronomers did not discover the star until the middle of the nineteenth century, and it wasn’t even photographed until 1970. The Dogons go as far as describing a third star in the Sirius system, called “Emme Ya” that, to date, has not been identified by astronomers. In addition to their knowledge of Sirius B, the Dogon mythology includes Saturn’s rings and Jupiter’s four major moons. They have four calendars, for the Sun, Moon, Sirius, and Venus, and have long known that planets orbit the sun.