The Two Shanks (as-saqan)
The Two Shanks (as-saqan) are part of the Arabian megaconstellation of the Lion (al-asad). They mark the eastern boundary of the Lion.
A pair of very bright stars that are spaced widely apart.
α VIR (Spica), blue-white star, magnitude 1.0
α BOO (Arcturus), red giant star, magnitude 0.0
The Two Shanks set about 40 days apart but rise within a week of each other. Ibn Qutayba (d. 879 CE) reported that the Unarmed Sky-Raiser (the first of the pair to set and the second to rise) was said to rise on the morning of October 6 and set on the morning of April 5. On account of the precession of the equinoxes, today we can expect to observe the Two Shanks setting in late April and early June, and rising in late October, as seen from the latitude of Tucson. (See How to Observe on the About page for more on this topic.)
The Two Shanks of the Lion do not figure in the calendar of the rains stars. However, as the Two Sky-Raisers, the setting of these same stars mark the short rainy season of summer (as-sayf).
The Two Shanks of the Lion are not one of the lunar stations, but in early listings of the lunar stations, the Unarmed Sky-Raiser is the 14th station of the year.
Related Stars and Celestial Complexes
The Two Shanks are part of the Lion (al-asad, الأسد) folkloric celestial complex, which extends from the Two Forearms (adh-dhira’an, الذراعان) to these Two Shanks.
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