Tamanui Te Ra’s wives

It was said that Te Ra the Sun is a great god with two wives, the summer maid Hine-Raumati, and the winter maid Hine-Takurua.  Over the year, by dawn’s light, you can watch him move from one wife to the other.

Photo by Ramiro Pianarosa on Unsplash

At the winter solstice Te Ra rises with Takurua (Sirius).  Takurua is the winter maid Hine-Takurua.  She is also known as the “Frost Star”. 

Sirius in space. By Mellostorm – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Six months later, at the summer solstice, Te Ra rises with Rehua (Antares).  Rehua is the summer maid Hine-Raumati. 

Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer astronomers have constructed this remarkable image of the red supergiant star Antares. This is the most detailed image ever of this object, or any other star apart from the Sun.

The point at which the sun rises along the horizon is continually changing – moving back and forth between north-east and south-east. At the winter solstice, when Te Ra is with the winter maid, he rises at its furthest point north of east.  Six months later, at the summer solstice, he is with the summer maid and rises at his furthest point south of east.  Over the year, by dawn’s light, you can watch him move from one wife to the other.

As he gets close to one of his wives (a solstice) he slows down, and finally stops moving altogether while he enjoys her warmth and company. But, after a only a few days, it is time for him to leave and begin the return journey to the other wife. He is pretty reluctant to leave and journey on alone, so he moves quite slowly at first. 

Gradually, as he gets closer and closer to true east, the equinox position, he begins to move faster and faster.  Soon, he moves quite a long way along the horizon each day. 

Spring and autumn are difficult times for Te Ra, because at the time of the equinoxes, he can be seen by both wives. Now, the two wives are sisters, and that makes Te Ra feel pretty uncomfortable. You can see that yourself, if you watch him at the time of the equinoxes you will see him moving quickly along the horizon. He doesn’t begin to slow down again until one of the wives disappears below the horizon. Only then, can he breathe a sigh of relief, and wander at a leisurely pace along the horizon to his second wife.

Photo by Andrey Grinkevich on Unsplash

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