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The more massive of these, Sirius B, consumed its resources and became a red giant before shedding its outer layers and collapsing into its current state as a white dwarf around The heliacal rising of Sirius marked the flooding of the Nile in Ancient Egypt and the "dog days" of summer for the ancient Greeks, while to the Polynesians, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, the star marked winter and was an important reference for their navigation around the Pacific Ocean.
The brightest star in the night sky, Sirius is recorded in some of the earliest astronomical records.
Sirius is a binary star consisting of a main-sequence star of spectral type A0 or A1, termed Sirius A, and a faint white dwarf companion of spectral type DA2, termed Sirius B.
The distance between the two varies between 8.2 and 31.5 astronomical units as they orbit every 50 years.
Other names for Sirius included Palolo-mua (Futuna), Mere (Mangaia), Apura (Manihiki), Taku-ua (Marquesas Islands), and Tokiva (Pukapuka).
He depicted it as one of six red-coloured stars (see the Colour controversy section below).
The Egyptians continued to note the times of Sirius's annual return, which may have led them to the discovery of the 1460-year Sothic cycle and influenced the development of the Julian and Alexandrian calendars.
The ancient Greeks observed that the appearance of Sirius heralded the hot and dry summer and feared that it caused plants to wilt, men to weaken, and women to become aroused.
Many other Polynesian names have been recorded, including Tau-ua in the Marquesas Islands, Rehua in New Zealand, and Ta'urua-fau-papa "Festivity of original high chiefs" and Ta'urua-e-hiti-i-te-tara-te-feiai "Festivity who rises with prayers and religious ceremonies" in Tahiti.
The people of the Society Islands called Sirius variously Taurua-fau-papa, Taurua-nui-te-amo-aha, and Taurua-e-hiti-i-tara-te-feiai.
the Sirius system is one of Earth's nearest neighbours.