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Session 1 - Applied History of Astronomy I.
Oral session, Sunday, January 14
Salon del Rey Central, Hilton

[1.03] Astrophysics from History: the case of `red' Sirius

R. Ceragioli (U. Houston)

Because of statements made by several ancient authors (notably Ptolemy), modern astronomers have debated whether Sirius could have changed its intrinsic color from *reddish* to *white* in only two millennia. This debate has been on-going for two centuries, but there has been no clear resolution. Chiefly this is because insufficient regard has been paid to the cultural contexts in which the ancient statements were made. When these contexts are carefully evaluated, it becomes clear that Sirius could not have changed color. The "red Sirius" debate points the hazards of using ancient documents out of context for modern scientific purposes.

Program listing for Sunday