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Sirius pp 171-189 | Cite as

Modern Mysteries

Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)

Abstract

The idea that the stars—or, in particular, hypothetical planets orbiting distant stars—might harbor extraterrestrial life is not new. People have speculated for many centuries, both seriously and fancifully, on the existence of such celestial populations. Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake in Rome in the year 1600, in part for adhering to such speculations. Several generations later, in the more intellectually tolerant climate of Holland, Christiaan Huygens also speculated about inhabited worlds in his Cosmotheoros. As a general proposition, specific individual stars were seldom emphasized as the source of extraterrestrial civilizations. Sirius, however, being the brightest and most universally recognized star, has received more than its share of attention in this regard. As far back as 1752 the French essayist, dramatist, and writer, Voltaire wrote a short satirical book entitled Micromégas, in which he described a giant being from one of several planets that circle the star Sirius. The “Sirian”, as Voltaire referred to him, was of colossal size, some 20 miles tall, and had a life span of one million years. Possessing a philosophical nature and a superior knowledge of an abundance of things, this giant being set out to visit our solar system. On the planet Saturn, he encountered a “dwarf”, only one-twelfth his height. Together these two supersized beings set off to visit the other planets of the solar system, finally arriving at earth. At first they imagine the earth to be uninhabited, but soon learn of the presence of humans, so small that the enormous beings can only view them through microscopes.

Keywords

Distant Star Sacred Ratio Small Rural School Colonial Official Secret Knowledge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Chapter 11

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© Praxis Publishing Ltd, Chichester, UK 2007

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