Tania Australis

Constellation:  Mu (μ) Ursa Major
Longitude 1900:  19LEO50 Longitude 2000: 21LEO14
Declination 1900:  +42.00′ Declination 2000:  +41.30′
Right ascension:  10h 22m Latitude:  +28.59′
Spectral class:  M0 Magnitude:  3.2

The history of the star: Tania australis

from p.443 of Star Names, Richard Hinckley Allen, 1889.

Tania australisMu (μ) Ursa Major, Tania Australis, is a red star in the right hind paw of the Greater Bear.

Tania Australis, is from Arabic Ath-Thaniyah (), The southern one of “the second” leap.

These are our Tania borealis and Tania Australis; and together were the Arabs’ Al Kafzah al Thaniyab, “the Second Spring” of the Gazelle, marking the Bear’s left hind foot.

Also called Al Phikra al Thania, in the original Al Fikrah, “the Vertebra” but this, more probably, is entirely wrong, as these three pairs of stars have always marked three of the Bear’s feet.

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

The Leaps of the Gazelle: In ancient Arabia, before the Arabs adopted the Greek Astronomical figures for the constellations, they had different configurations in the sky. Many of starnames comes to us from this tradition.

Nu (Alula Borealis) and xi (Alula Australe) marked the right hind foot of the Greater Bear were “the First Leap” of the Gazelle. Lambda (Tania Borealis) and mu (this star: Tania Australis) together, marking the Bear’s left hind foot, were “the Second Leap” of the Gaselle. Iota (Talitha) and kappa marking the Third Leap. Each pair marking one “spring”.

They were collectively designated Kafzah al Thiba’, the Springs of the Gazelle. The Gazelle being imagined from the unformed stars since gathered up as Leo Minor, and the springing from the Pond (Coma Berenice) of the animal being due to its fear of the greater Lion’s tail. [In early Arabia Coma Berenice was Al Haud, the Pond, into which the Gazelle, our Leo Minor, sprang when frightened at the lashing of the Lion’s tail (Coma Berenice is the tuft of the Lion’s tail in the Arabian figure of Leo); although some of the Arabic observers claimed that this Pond lay among the stars of the neck, breast, and knees of the Greater Bear Ursa Major: and Lach substituted it for the Gazelle in our location of Leo Minor. Ideler adopted this from Al Tizini and the Cufic globe at Dresden; while the Borgian globe shows a Gazelle and her Young in the same location. Kazwini, however, described this group as extending over the eyes, eyebrows, ears, and muzzle of the figure of our Ursa Major.]

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

The astrological influences of the constellation Ursa Major

Legend: Callisto, daughter of Lycaon, king of Arcadia, of whom Jupiter was enamored, became a follower of Diana on account of her love of hunting. Jupiter sought Callisto by assuming the form of Diana, and Juno (Jupiter’s wife) who discovered the intrigue turned Callisto into a bear. Angry that the bear was placed in heaven, Juno requested her brother Neptune never to let those stars set within his kingdom, and for this reason they are always above the horizon in Europe [never disappear below the horizon, it is always visible in the night sky, all night, every night, throughout the year]. To account for the length of the bear’s tail [because in reality bears don’t have tails], it is said that Jupiter, fearing her teeth, lifted her by the tail, which became stretched because of her weight and the distance from earth to heaven. [Robson, p.65.]

Influences: According to Ptolemy, Ursa Major is like Mars. It is said to give a quiet, prudent, suspicious, mistrustful, self-controlled, patient nature, but an uneasy spirit and great anger and revengefulness when roused. By the Kabalists it is associated with the Hebrew letter Zain and the 7th Tarot Trump “The Chariot.” [Robson, p.65.]

The astrological influences of the constellation Ursa Major given by Manilius:

“Now when, after completing a revolution round the pole, the Bear (Ursa Major) with muzzle foremost replaces her unceasing steps in her former tracks, never immersed in Ocean but ever turning in a circle, to those born at such a time wild creatures will show no hostile face, and in their dealings with animals these men will find them submissive to their rule. Such a one will be able to control huge lions with a gesture, to fondle wolves, and to play with captive panthers; so far from shunning the powerful bears that are the kin of the constellation, he will train them to human accomplishments and feats foreign to their nature; he will seat himself on the elephant’s back and with a goad will direct the movements of a beast which disgraces its massive weight by yielding to tiny jabs; he will dispel the fury of the tiger, training it to become a peaceful animal, whilst all the other beasts which molest the earth with their savageness he will join in friendship to himself; keen-scented whelps he will train…” [here the translator notes that eight pages have been lost] [Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD, book 5, p.357, 359]

“Now where heaven reaches its culmination in the shining Bears, which from the summit of the sky look down on all the stars and know no setting and, shifting their opposed stations about the same high point, set sky and stars in rotation, from there an insubstantial axis runs down through the wintry air and controls the universe, keeping it pivoted at opposite poles: it forms the middle about which the starry sphere revolves and wheels its heavenly flight, but is itself without motion and, drawn straight through the empty spaces of the great sky to the two Bears and through the very globe of the Earth, stands fixed, since the entire atmosphere ever revolves in a circle, and every part of the whole rotates to the place from which it once began, that which is in the middle, about which all moves, so insubstantial that it cannot turn round upon itself or even submit to motion or spin in circular fashion, this men have called the axis, since, motionless itself, it yet sees everything spinning about it. The top of the axis is occupied by constellations well known to hapless mariners, guiding them over the measureless deep in their search for gain. Helice (Ursa Major), the greater, describes the greater arc; it is marked by seven stars which vie with each other under its guidance the ships of Greece set sail to cross the seas. Cynosura [Ursa Minor] is small and wheels round in a narrow circle, less in brightness as it is in size, but in the judgment of the Tyrians it excels the larger bear. Carthaginians count it the surer-guide when at sea they make for unseen shores. They are not set face to face: each with its muzzle points at the other’s tail and follows one that follows it. Sprawling between them and embracing each the Dragon separates and surrounds them with its glowing stars lest they ever meet or leave their stations.” [Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD, book 1, p.27, 29].


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