The Aorta (an-niyat)
The Aorta is part of the Arabian constellation of the Scorpion (al-‘aqrab). The Arabian Scorpion followed the image of the scorpion defined by the Sumerians more than 3000 years ago. The Aorta is marked by a pair of white stars that flank the brilliant red star that was regarded as its Heart (al-qalb).
A pair of white stars that flank the brilliant red star in the body of the Scorpion.
σ SCO (Al-Niyat), blue-white star, magnitude 2.9
τ SCO, blue-white star, magnitude 2.8
Ibn Qutayba (d. 879 CE) reported that the Heart was said to rise on the morning of November 27 and set on the morning of May 27. On account of the precession of the equinoxes, today we can expect to observe the Aorta setting in early June and rising in mid-December, as seen from the latitude of Tucson. (See How to Observe on the About page for more on this topic.)
The Aorta of the Scorpion does not figure in the calendar of the rains stars.
The Aorta is not one of the lunar stations, but in early listings of the lunar stations, the Heart is the 20th station of the year.
Related Stars and Celestial Complexes
The Aorta is part of the Scorpion (al-‘aqrab, العقرب) folkloric celestial complex, which extends from the Two Claws (az-zubanayan, الزبانيان) to the Raised Tail (ash-shawla, الشولة).
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