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Seriously Sirius

Updated: Aug 13, 2021

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it Isaiah 40:5.

Orion is a good place to start observing because most of the objects there are easy to identify.

Take Sirius, for instance. Who can miss that beacon of light with a luminosity of twenty suns? It’s the blue-white Dog Star, running at the heels of Orion, The Hunter.

Unbeknownst to a neophyte like me, Sirius is actually a binary star. Its companion is a faint, white dwarf star called Sirius B, The Pup. A white dwarf is a small, very dense star, so dense a thimbleful of its material weighs over a ton. Of the two, Sirius B might actually be more important because of its mass. Sirius B, though, is difficult to distinguish from Sirius because the light of the alpha star blinds observers to the little companion lurking in the shadows.

Sirius’s companion teaches me about humility. Who hasn’t been eclipsed by someone brighter, more handsome/beautiful, funnier, skinnier? Wielder of a bigger telescope?

Whenever I lament my insignificance, I’ll think of Sirius B (it doesn’t even have its own name but takes the name of the grander star). I’ll remember its proximity to the Dog Star and think how, despite its obscurity, its gravitas is actually more substantial. Of the two stars, perhaps the white dwarf, because of its mass, has the greater influence on the space around it.

Father, when I seek recognition, remind me of the words John the Baptist spoke when he pointed to the One to Come: I am just the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord…I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but He that cometh after Me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire Matthew 3:3b, 11b. I say, with John the Baptist, He must increase, but I must decrease John 3:30. I, too, much decrease…as You increase, Father. As I lose myself in You, remind me how Sirius B, though less visible, might have more influence on everything around it.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, H. Bond (STScI) and M. Barstow (University of Leicester)

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