Fixed star:  NUNKI  Pelagus
Constellation:  Sigma (σ) Sagittarius
Longitude 1900:  10CAP59 Longitude 2000:  12CAP23
Declination 1900:  -26.25' Declination 2000:  -26.17'
Right ascension:  18h 55m Latitude:  -03.26'
Spectral class:  B3 Magnitude:  2.1

The history of the star: Nunki

from p.359 of Star Names, Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889.
[A scanned copy can be viewed on this webpage]

NunkiSigma (σ) Sagittarius, Nunki, is a star on the vane of the arrow in the archer's hand.

This has been identified with Nunki of the Euphratean Tablet of the Thirty Stars, the Star of the Proclamation of the Sea, this Sea being the quarter occupied by Aquarius, Capricornus, Delphinus, Pisces, and Piscis Australis. It is the same space in the sky that  the Greek astronomer Aratus, circa 270 B.C., designated as the Water; perhaps another proof of the Euphratean origin of much of Greek astronomy.

In India it marked the junction of the nakshatra (Hindu Moon Mansion) Ashadha with Abhijit.

It lies on the vane of the arrow at the Archer's hand.

Sigma (σ Nunki), with zeta (ζ Ascella) and pi (π Albadah), may have been the Akkadian Gu-shi-rab-ba, the Yoke of the Sea.

In ancient Arabia the two small groups of stars now marking the head and the vane of the Archer's arrow were of much note as relics of still earlier asterisms, as well as a lunar station. The westernmost of these, — gamma (Alnasl), delta (Kaus Medius), epsilon (Kaus Australis), and eta — were Al Na'am al Warid, the Going Ostriches; and the easternmost, — sigma (this star Nunki), zeta (Ascella), phi, chi, and tau, — Al Na'am al Sadirah, the Returning Ostriches, passing to and from the celestial river, the Milky Way, with the star lambda (Kaus Borealis) for their Keeper.

[Star Names, Their Lore and Meaning, Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889].


Listed as Pelagus (Latin for "sea") in Vivian Robson's book.

The Lunar Mansions

Zeta (ζ Ascella) with this star sigma (σ Nunki), tau (τ), and phi (φ) formed a portion of the 18th manzil (Arabic Moon Mansion), Al Na'am, or Al Na'aim al Sadirah. Robson calls it Al Na'am, The Ostriches.

Influences of the 18th Arabic Moon Mansion Al Na'am: Helps the taming of wild beasts, strengthening of prisons, destroys the wealth of societies and compels a man to come to a certain place.

With Moon transiting here: build, ask favors but do not marry. [Robson*, p.73.]

Zeta (ζ Ascella) with this star sigma (σ Nunki), tau (τ), and phi (φ) formed the 18th nakshatra (Hindu Moon Mansion) Purva Ashadha; The Former Unconquered. Symbol, an Elephant's Tusk, or, together with the next asterism (Uttara Ashadha), a Bed. Regents, Apas, Waters, and Visve Devas, the Combined Gods. Ruled by Venus.

Influences of the 18th Hindu Moon Mansion Purva Ashadha: A severe asterism belonging to the Brahmin caste and favorable for acts of disgrace, destruction, deceit, imprisonment, beating, burning and poison when containing the Moon. Those born on the lunar day will be truthful, cleanly, wealthy, fond of fruit and flowers and sea voyages. With Moon here at birth native will be conceited, proud, constant in friendship and will have an agreeable life. Rules thatched houses and the back. [Robson*, p.83.]

The astrological influences of the constellation Sagittarius

The following are Ptolemy's remarks: "The stars at the point of the arrow in Sagittarius have influence similar to that of Mars and the Moon: those on the bow, and at the grasp of the hand, act like Jupiter and Mars . . . those in the waist and in the back resemble Jupiter, and also Mercury moderately: those in the feet, Jupiter and Saturn." ... By the Kabalists Sagittarius is associated with the Hebrew letter Vau and the 6th Tarot Trump "The Lovers." [Robson*, p.60.]

The astrological influences of the constellation Sagittarius given by Manilius:

"As for the Archer, when the foremost portion of his cloak rises, he will give birth to hearts renowned in war and will conduct the conqueror, celebrating great triumphs in the sight of all, to his country's citadels. Such a one will build high walls (moenia from Latin murus) one moment and pull them down the next. But if Fortune favours them too generously with success, the mark of her envy is to be seen on their faces, for she works cruel havoc upon their features. So was it that a dread warrior* paid for his victories at the Trebia, Cannae, and the Lake, even before the hour of his retreat, with such disfigurement." [Translator's note: *Hanibal who lost an eye (Livy 22.2.11: Sagittarius is one-eyed; see p.103] [Manilius, Astronomica, 1st century AD, book 4, p.267]

"But they whose lot it is to be born under the Centaur of double form delight in yoking a team, in bringing a fiery horse to obey the pliant reins, in following herds which graze all over the grasslands, and in imposing a master on every kind of quadruped and taming them: they soften tigers, rid the lion of his fierceness, speak to the elephant and through speech adapt its huge bulk to human skills in a variety of displays. Indeed, in the stars of this constellation the human form is blended with a beast's and placed above it; wherefore it has lordship over beasts. And because it carries a shaft poised on drawn bow, it imparts strength to limb and keenness to the intellect, swiftness of movement, and an indefatigable spirit." [Manilius, Astronomica, 1st century AD, book 4, p.241.]

The astrological influences of the star Nunki or Pelagus

According to Ptolemy it is of the nature of Jupiter and Mercury; and, to Alvidas, of Saturn and Mercury. It gives truthfulness, optimism and a religious mind. [Robson*, p.180.]

Pelagus (Nunki) is an indicator of one who may be expected to be an authoritative orator on Sagittarius and Capricorn topics on business, state or foreign affairs, religion. Interest in long distance travel and in ships and airplanes. [The Living Stars, Dr. Eric Morse, p.95-96.]

With Sun: Influential public position, favorable for domestic and family matters. [Robson*, p.180.]

With Moon: Successful writer on science, philosophy, education or agriculture, unorthodox in religion, defeats enemies, many friends, illness of a Saturnian nature. [Robson*, p.180.]

With Mercury: High government position, popular criticism, wealth, anxiety on account of illness to wife or mother. [Robson*, p.180.]

With Venus: Heart rules head, favors from opposite sex, many friends. [Robson*].

With Mars: Reserved, diplomatic, strong mind, courageous, energetic, straightforward, false friends, favorable for gain. [Robson*, p.180.]

With Jupiter: Diplomatic, philosophical mind, writer, ecclesiastical or legal preferment. [Robson*, p.180.]

With Saturn: Thoughtful, reserved, self-centered, success delayed until after 50, ambition thwarted by enemies, danger of disgrace, wealth at end of life, trouble to parents, favorable marriage late in life, usually at least one child. [Robson*, p.180.]

With Uranus: Proud, industrious, aggressive, high government or business position, early disgrace, especially if female, favorable for marriage in middle age, sudden gains and losses, many friends, natural death. [Robson*, p.181.]

With Neptune: Practical, occult interests, wealthy, associated with large concerns, some domestic disagreements, defeats enemies, natural death in old age. [Robson*, p.181.]


*[Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology, Vivian E. Robson, 1923].