The Wrist (al-mi’sam)
The Tattoo of the Wrist (washm al-mi’sam)
The Tattoo of the Wrist 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.
A small fuzzy patch of the Milky Way located just east of a bright group of five stars arranged in the shape of a “W”. The Tattoo of the Wrist is a pair of dense star clusters known as the Double Cluster of Perseus. Individual stars in this cluster require binoculars or telescope to be resolved.
NGC 869/h PER (Double Cluster, with NGC 884), open star cluster, magnitude 4.3
NGC 884/χ PER (Double Cluster, with NGC 869), open star cluster, magnitude 4.4
Depending upon your observing location, the Tattoo may be circumpolar, so it never sets below the horizon. As a diffuse object, it cannot be tracked all the way to the horizon, but its position relative to other stars may be ascertained. From the latitude of Tucson, the Tattoo dips below the horizon briefly, about the time that the Brand (al-han’a) sets. Ibn Qutayba (d. 879 CE) reported that the Brand was said to set on the morning of December 22. On account of the precession of the equinoxes, today we can expect to observe the Tattoo setting in early January and rising in the middle of February, as seen from the latitude of Tucson. (See How to Observe on the About page for more on this topic.)
The Tattoo of the Wrist does not figure among the rain stars.
The Tattoo of the Wrist is not one of the lunar stations.
Related Stars and Celestial Complexes
The Tattoo of the Wrist is part of the Hands of Thuraya (aydi ath-thuraya, أيدي الثريا) folkloric celestial complex. The Tattoo of the Wrist connects the Henna-Dyed Hand (al-kaf al-khadib, الكف الخضيب) to Thuraya itself (ath-thuraya, الثريا).