The Heart (al-qalb)
The Heart of the Scorpion (qalb al-‘aqrab)
The Heart 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 Heart is marked by a brilliant red star that is flanked on both sides by two dimmer white stars that were together regarded as its Aorta (an-niyat).
A brilliant red star in the body of the Scorpion.
α SCO (Antares), red supergiant variable star, magnitude 0.9-1.1
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 Heart 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 Heart of the Scorpion does not figure in the calendar of the rains stars.
In early listings of the lunar stations, the Heart is the 20th station of the year. This was later changed to the 18th lunar station after the stations were adjusted to begin with the vernal equinox. The stars of the Heart and its Aorta match the Hindu nakshatra called Jyeshtha.
Related Stars and Celestial Complexes
The Heart 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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