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Mar 10, 2013

Guiding Stars

Posted By Snow at 3/10/2013 3 comments

A map of famous constellations | more details

OK... Imagine you're traveling through the desert. In the 7th century. Your navigator is up in the sky - the stars! So yeah, the stars are guidance. & understanding it is a very ancient skill. [old] الحمد لله

Basically, it starts with the Earth orbiting the sun. This means each night of the year, the Earth is in a different position around the Sun. Thus, we get to see a different view of the night sky from that position. E.g: around January, the night faces Orion (so you see it), but the day faces Aquila (so it's hard to see). Then when the Earth moves across the other side around July, you see Aquila clearly.



The Earth also spins on its axis, so the night sky view changes from sunset to sunrise as well. Say in July, Scorpio rules the night sky — it rises in the East at sunset, moves across the sky all night, & sets in the West at sunrise. الجوار الكنس [Q81:16]
  • after July's sunset, will we see Leo descend in the West
  • before July's sunrise, will we see Aquarius rise in the East
  • will Scorpio eventually descend in the West at sunset until it disappears
  • This cycle repeats every year — so is this how the ancients tell time & seasons? For instance, Canopus (Suhail سهيل) appears in August, and rises to its peak in December, January. It is welcomed by Arabs as it marks the coming of winter, with cooler temperatures. وعلامات وبالنجم هم يهتدون [Q16:16]

    We can also find direction by looking at the constellations. النجوم لتهتدوا بها في ظلمات البر والبحر [Q6:97] For instance, we can find the North by looking from Altair to Vega in the summer, while Orion's arrow points us to the West in the winter. This is how muslims can find the Kaaba for the daily prayers. الحمد لله

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    The ancient astrolabe
    (أسطرلاب) charts the sky

    The map shows the constellations of the night sky, for the whole year. The actual night sky view is spherical, so should the map wrap around the earth like this? So maybe the northern, southern stars span more months? FYI, there are southern stars too low to be seen from the northern hemisphere (maybe Berlin never see Canopus), and vice versa...

    I'm still learning... I hope I get this right. v(◠v◠)v

    I seek refuge in Allah SWT from errors
    Only Allah SWT Knows Best والله أعلم

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