The Fatty Tail of the Lamb (alyat al-hamal)
The Arabic term hamal refers to a first-year lamb, not to a male ram like the Greeks saw in their constellation Aries. Specifically, the celestial Lamb is a lamb from among the fat-tailed sheep that were bred for their large fatty rumps and tails. The Fatty Tail of the Lamb was thus imagined as the fleshy tail of a first-year fat-tailed lamb.
A bright, close cluster of stars known in modern times as the Pleiades star cluster.
M45 (Pleiades), star cluster, magnitude 1.6
The Fatty Tail of the Lamb was also known as a lunar station by the name of ath-thuraya. Ibn Qutayba (d. 879 CE) reported that ath-thuraya was said to rise on the morning of May 13 and set on the morning of November 13. On account of the precession of the equinoxes, today we can expect to observe the Fatty Tail of the Lamb setting in early December and rising at the end of May, as seen from the latitude of Tucson. (See How to Observe on the About page for more on this topic.)
In the calendars of Qushayr and Qays, the Fatty Tail of the Lamb is known as ath-thuraya, whose morning setting occurs at the end of the autumnal rainy season called al-wasmi.
The star cluster that represents the Fatty Tail is also one of the lunar stations as ath-thuraya. In early listings of the lunar stations, ath-thuraya is the fifth station of the year. This was later changed to the third lunar station after the stations were adjusted to begin with the vernal equinox.
Related Stars and Celestial Complexes
The Fatty Tail of the Lamb is part of the Lamb (al-hamal, الحمل) folkloric celestial complex. The Fatty Tail connects to the Belly of the Lamb (batn al-hamal, بطن الحمل) and its Two Horns (qarna al-hamal, قرنا الحمل).