The stars have foretold it, the legend unfolds, as Suhail rises on the horizon, temperatures in the UAE will drop.
It’s finally time to say goodbye to the summer heat that has touched 50C a few times. On Thursday, Ibrahim Al Jarwan, Chairman of the Emirates Astronomy Society and a member of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences, said in a tweet that the Suhail star would be seen on August 24. The sighting marks a shift in weather in the Arabian Peninsula.
Also known as Canopus, the star will appear in the early hours of twilight on August 24, over the southeastern horizon of the UAE and central Arabia, according to the UAE astronomer.
Drop in temperature
The visibility of the Suhail star coincides with a fall in temperature by a few degrees, accompanied with an increase in humidity and Southeasterly winds, which tend to blow towards the Hajar Mountains in Oman and the east coast of the UAE.
It also marks the time when fish return in large numbers to the coast, as the temperature decreases over the sea. So fishing season will begin soon. Time to test out some great seafood recipes.
In fact, in Emirati culture, the appearance of Suhail heralds a new season of “abundance”. As per Al Sadeem Observatory’s website www.alsadeemastronomy.ae, “the appearance of the Suhail star is the first day of the ‘Suhaili Year’, when [Emirati] people from the past based their fishing, pearl hunting, and farming activities on it. It is divided into 14 seasons.”
What is the Suhail star?
Suhail is the second brightest star in the night sky, after Sirius from the constellation Canis Major. It is 27 million years old, and 310 light years away from Earth.
It will be visible until September 23, the day of the autumnal equinox, when the sun shines directly on the equator, and the northern and southern hemispheres get the same amount of rays. But after the autumnal equinox, the northern hemisphere of the Earth begins to tilt away from the sun, so nights will get longer and days will grow shorter until the winter solstice, which will be on December 21.
According to the International Astronomical Union (IAU), stars do not have proper names, except for a limited number of bright stars that bear historic names. Therefore, Suhail is quite unique in its recognition.
In fact, in the case of historic names, many were originally adapted from the Arabic language, reflecting the role of Arab culture in astronomy, such as Delta Corvi (known as Algorab, which is derived from the Arabic word al ghourab – the crow).
Don’t break out the woollens yet but a few late backyard barbecues with friends and family could definitely be an option.