The Henna-Dyed Hand
Star Name

The Henna-Dyed Hand

Part of the Hands of Thuraya celestial complex

الكف الخضيب – كف الثريا المبسوطة

Star Names

The Henna-Dyed Hand (al-kaf al-khadib)
The Outstretched Hand of Thuraya (kaf ath-thuraya al-mabsuta)

The Henna-Dyed Hand is one of two hands of Thuraya, a brilliant star cluster that was anthropomorphized as a female figure. The Henna-Dyed Hand is longer than the Amputated Hand (al-kaf al-jadhma’) and features several well-defined elements. Henna, a natural dye that is green when prepared, leaves an orange stain when applied to hair or skin. Women to this day apply henna to their hands during celebrations, such as weddings, and this is reflected in the yellow-orange color of the bright star that lies near the end of the stellar Hand.

The Henna-Dyed Hand (al-kaf al-khadib) as it appears in the west about 45 minutes before sunrise in early November.

The Henna-Dyed Hand (al-kaf al-khadib) as it appears in the west about 45 minutes before sunrise in early November. Sky simulations made with Stellarium.


A bright group of five stars arranged in the shape of a “W”. The Henna-Dyed Hand includes the five primary stars of the modern constellation of Cassiopeia, but the name also referred to the final star alone (Caph).

Modern Identification

β CAS (Caph), white star, magnitude 2.27
α CAS (Schedar), yellow giant star, magnitude 2.23
γ CAS, blue giant variable shell star, magnitude 1.6-3.3
δ CAS (Ruchbah), blue-white star, magnitude 2.68
ε CAS (Segin), blue giant star, magnitude 3.38


Depending upon your observing location, some or all of the stars of the Henna-Dyed Hand of Thuraya are circumpolar, so they never set below the horizon. From the latitude of Tucson, only the yellowish star Schedar dips below the horizon briefly, about the time that Thuraya sets. Ibn Qutayba (d. 879 CE) reported that Thuraya was said to set on the morning of November 13. On account of the precession of the equinoxes, today we can expect to observe the Henna-Dyed Hand setting in early November and rising at the end of January, as seen from the latitude of Tucson. (See How to Observe on the About page for more on this topic.)

Rain Stars

The Henna-Dyed Hand does not figure among the rain stars.

Lunar Stations

The Henna-Dyed Hand is not one of the lunar stations.

 Related Stars and Celestial Complexes

The Henna-Dyed Hand is part of the Hands of Thuraya (aydi ath-thuraya, أيدي الثريا) folkloric celestial complex. The Henna-Dyed Hand connects through Thuraya itself (ath-thuraya, الثريا) to the Amputated Hand (al-kaf al-jadhma’, الكف الجذماء).

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Thuraya, the Abundant Darling of the Heavens