The Follower of Thuraya
Star Name

The Follower of Thuraya

The 4th Arab lunar station

Description
الدبران – تابع النجم – تالي النجم – حادي النجم

Star Names

The Follower (ad-dabaran)
The Follower of the Asterism (tabi’ an-najm)
The Follower of the Asterism (tali an-najm)
The Urger of the Asterism (hadi an-najm)

The Follower is a very bright, red star that immediately follows Thuraya as the stars move westward across the sky. The most honored star grouping in the sky, Thuraya was often called “the Asterism” (an-najm).

The Follower of Thuraya (ad-dabaran) as it appears in the west about 45 minutes before sunrise in early November.

The Follower of Thuraya (ad-dabaran) as it appears in the west about 45 minutes before sunrise in early November. Sky simulations made with Stellarium.

Appearance

A very bright, red star located southeast of Thuraya, which is known in contemporary astronomy as the Pleiades star cluster.

Modern Identification

α TAU, (Aldebaran), red giant star, magnitude 0.85

Timing

Ibn Qutayba (d. 879 CE) reported that the Follower of Thuraya was said to rise on the morning of May 26 and set on the morning of November 26. On account of the precession of the equinoxes, today we can expect to observe Thuraya setting in early December and rising in late June, as seen from the latitude of Tucson. (See How to Observe on the About page for more on this topic.)

Rain Stars

In the calendars of Qushayr and Qays, the morning setting of the Follower occurs after the end of the autumnal rainy season called al-wasmi. The Follower does not figure into the rain calendar at this point; instead, its pre-dawn rising 6 months later heralds the onset of al-hamim, the most vehement heat of summer.

Lunar Stations

In early listings of the lunar stations, the Follower is the sixth station of the year. This was later changed to the fourth lunar station after the stations were adjusted to begin with the vernal equinox. The star of the Follower matches the Hindu nakshatra called Rohini.

 Related Stars and Celestial Complexes

The Follower is located just behind the Hands of Thuraya (aydi ath-thuraya, أيدي الثريا), and thus forms part of that folkloric celestial complex, which extends from the Amputated Hand (al-kaf al-jadhma’, الكف الجذماء) to the Henna-Dyed Hand (al-kaf al-khadib, الكف الخضيب).

 Related Blog Posts

Thuraya, the Abundant Darling of the Heavens