Suhail star spotted, to mark end of hot summer days


Sharjah - It is the second brightest star in the sky after Sirius, and is approximately 313 light years away from Earth.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Tue 25 Aug 2020, 5:50 PM

Last updated: Wed 11 Jan 2023, 3:52 PM

The appearance of the Suhail star on August 24 means that days of higher temperatures in the UAE are drawing to a close.

Many people in the Arabian Gulf wait for the appearance of this giant star known as Suhail in Arabic and Canopus in the West, which signals the beginning of the end of summer.

It is the second brightest star in the sky after Sirius, and is approximately 313 light years away from Earth.

The Suhail star marks a shift in weather and can be seen until late winter in the Arabian Peninsula.

In the past, there was an accredited calendar in the Arabian Peninsula called the Suhaila Year, which began on August 24 each year. During this period, temperatures begin to fall from this date, because of the Earth's distance from the sun, after hitting highs of 50 degrees Celsius in some parts of the region.

Ibrahim Al Jarwan, member of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences, explained that since the ancient times, people of the Arabian Peninsula had a keen interest in looking at the stars and knowing their homes because they are related to their daily life at night and during the day. "They learn through the starts, the start of the seasons of the year, the times of rain, and the period of hot and cold weather," said Al Jarwan.

"And by counting the stars, farmers and people in the villages knew when to plow their land, and when to sow in preparation for the rain. People of the main land got to know the seasons for grazing and travel, whereas those of the sea were able to know the fishing and travel seasons from the stars."

He added that the Suhail star was known to the Arabs since the ancient times and very often mentioned in Arab poetry, stories, and Bedouin sayings, as it was considered part of their climatic and astronomical awareness.

"People in the past based their fishing and farming activities on this star. The appearance of Suhail also traditionally marks the start of the hunting season," said Al Jarwan.

When the Suhail star shows up in the night sky, falconers also begin to prepare their nets because it means that the migratory season for these birds of prey is about to begin.

The star is also very prominent in art and literature of UAE nationals and often depicted as a symbol of love and the pureness of the heart.

Al Jarwan said the Suhail star also coincides with a decrease in sea temperatures, which will see a return of large quantities of fish to the coast.

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