The Pit of the Elbow
Star Name

The Pit of the Elbow

Part of the Hands of Thuraya celestial complex


Star Names

The Pit of the Elbow (al-ma’bid)

The Pit of the Elbow is part of the Henna-Dyed Hand (al-kaf al-khadib) of Thuraya, a brilliant star cluster that was anthropomorphized as a female figure. One of two Hands, the Henna-Dyed Hand is longer than the Amputated Hand (al-kaf al-jadhma’) and features several well-defined elements.

The Pit of the Elbow (al-ma'bid) as it appears in the west about 45 minutes before sunrise in early November.

The Pit of the Elbow (al-ma’bid) as it appears in the west about 45 minutes before sunrise in early November. Sky simulations made with Stellarium.


A group of two (according to Ibn Qutayba) or one (according to as-Sufi) average stars located between the Henna-Dyed Hand and the Elbow. Ibn Qutayba’s description suggests it should be ι PER and another star near the Elbow. As-Sufi identifies the single faint star σ PER.

Modern Identification

ι PER, yellow-white star, magnitude 4.05
σ PER, orange star, magnitude 4.35


The Pit of the Elbow sets about the time that the Brand (al-haq’a) sets. Ibn Qutayba (d. 879 CE) reported that the Brand was said to set on the morning of December 9. On account of the precession of the equinoxes, today we can expect to observe the Pit of the Elbow setting in early January and rising in the middle of April, as seen from the latitude of Tucson. (See How to Observe on the About page for more on this topic.)

Rain Stars

The Pit of the Elbow does not figure among the rain stars.

Lunar Stations

The Pit of the Elbow is not one of the lunar stations.

 Related Stars and Celestial Complexes

The Pit of the Elbow is part of the Hands of Thuraya (aydi ath-thuraya, أيدي الثريا) folkloric celestial complex. The Pit of the Elbow connects the Henna-Dyed Hand (al-kaf al-khadib, الكف الخضيب) to Thuraya itself (ath-thuraya, الثريا).

 Related Blog Posts

Thuraya, the Abundant Darling of the Heavens