The First Spout (al-fargh al-awal)
The Front Spout (al-fargh al-muqadam)
The First Spout is a pair of stars that forms one of Two Spouts (al-farghan) of the square-shaped Well Bucket (ad-dalw), which is composed of four bright stars. Ancient Arab well buckets were made from a large leather pouch, and the ends of two intersecting, perpendicular wooden crossbars were fitted into the mouth of the pouch, forming it into a square shape. On account of this shape, each of the four sides could be used as a spout. The First Spout is the first pair of spout stars to rise and set. When the First Spout is setting, it appears to be pouring water out of the Bucket onto the earth.
The western-most two of four bright stars that form the shape of a large, near-perfect square, known in modern times as the Great Square of Pegasus. One star is blue-white, and the other is a variable red giant that appears orange in the sky.
α PEG (Markab), blue-white star, magnitude 2.49
β PEG, (Scheat), variable red giant, magnitude 2.4 to 2.8
Of these two stars, Markab is the one that lies closest to the path of the moon through the sky.
The two stars of the First Spout do not rise or set at the same time. Ibn Qutayba (d. 879 CE) reported that the First Spout was said to rise on the morning of March 9 and set on the morning of September 9. On account of the precession of the equinoxes, today we can expect to observe the First Spout setting in early October and rising in early to mid March, as seen from the latitude of Tucson. (See How to Observe on the About page for more on this topic.)
These two stars are the last rain stars of the year, but in that calendar they are seen as two of the Crossbars of the Bucket, not as one of its Spouts:
The First Two Crossbars of the Bucket (‘arquwata ad-dalw al-ulayan, العرقوتا الدلو الأليان)
Also: The Higher Crossbar of the Bucket (‘arquwat ad-dalw al-‘ulya, عرقوة الدلو العليا)
In early listings of the lunar stations, the First Spout is the 28th and final station of the year. This was later changed to the 26th lunar station after the stations were adjusted to begin with the vernal equinox. The stars of the First Spout match the Hindu nakshatra called Purva Bhadrapada.
Related Stars and Celestial Complexes
The First Spout is part of the Well Bucket (ad-dalw, الدلو) folkloric celestial complex.