Te Ika A Maui
"Now many are the tales told of Maui for he it was who slowed the Sun, in the days when it would race across the sky; and he it was who gained the secret of fire from Mahuika. But the story which I shall tell is of how Maui tikitiki a Taranga, Maui the last born, fished up this Island, the North Island of New Zealand.
"Now often the brothers of Maui would go fishing, and due to their distrust and jealousy of their younger brother they would leave him behind. But Maui Potiki was cunning and in the night he hid himself beneath the boards of their Waka and the next morning when they went out he remained below. The brothers went to their fishing grounds, but Maui had already ensured that the fish would not be there, and so the brothers went further and further out into the ocean. Finally when far from the land Maui emerged from his hiding place. His brothers, angry and surprised, talked about returning to land, but Maui scorned them saying "what use is that, we are so far from land now, that it would take too long to return." The brothers cast their lines, but to Maui they would give no bait, and so Maui the Trickster smote his own nose, so it would bleed; this he smeared upon a miraculous jawbone given him by his grandmother Murirangiwhenua, and this he cast into the sea. Down went this enchanted fish hook, Te Matau a Maui, down into the very deepest depths of the ocean.
"Something had the line and Maui Nukahanga, heaved. With all his might he heaved; with straining muscles and sweating brow he pulled; with clenching teeth and rolling eyes he dragged his fish up from the sea. Finally, Te Ika a Maui, the Fish of Maui, rose up and lay out smooth upon the surface of the sea. As Maui returned to land to give thanks for his catch, his brothers in their greed attacked the Ika a Maui, and chopped into its sweet tender flesh. The creature thrashed and writhed in its pain, and herein turned to stone. That is why Te Ika a Maui, the North Island of New Zealand, is a rugged land of high mountains and deep valleys. If not for Maui's brothers this land would be smooth as the back of a stingray.
"When Maui realized that he had brought up the island, he was so delighted that he tossed his fish hook far up into the heavens, where it caught and hung, outlined with bright stars." And so goes the Maori story of the creation of the Fish Hook of Maui, the star group we know as Scorpius.
According to a legend of the people of the Marshall Islands, the mother of all stars (Capella in Auriga) proposed a canoe race to a nearby island. She asked each of her sons to allow her to ride with her possessions in their canoes; all thought this would slow their craft and they would lose the race. All, that is, except the youngest (represented by the Pleiades), who gladly allowed his mother to ride with him. Among the posessions she had brought onboard were sails and rigging, and with this to help them their canoe easily pulled ahead. Her eldest son (Antares in Scorpius), frustrated and angry, demanded the canoe and equipment, but his mother would not agree. The eldest son had to fasten the sail to his shoulders, causing his bent back that now accounts for the shape of Scorpius. He was so enraged that his younger brother won the race and became king of the stars that he never wanted to see his brother again. That is why the Pleiades and Antares are always separated in the sky, Antares setting in the west as the Pleiades rise in the east.
That story is completely different yet remarkably similar to the classic Greek story of the separation of Scorpius from Orion in the sky. You will remember that Orion, representing light and the Sun, was stung by the scorpion, the contemptible insect of darkness and symbol of death. Ancient Egypt, too, kept the similar idea of opposition between evil forces and good, and when the Sun entered Scorpius it marked the reign of the god Set, personification of evil, and the mourning of the beloved Osiris, brother of Set.
Scorpius occupies a rich and wonderful area of the Zodiac, although the modern boundaries of the constellation are host to the Sun for only nine days of the year. The Sun resides in Ophiuchus, the forgotten zodiacal constellation, for twice that time. The greater part of the scorpion lies south of the ecliptic, with Graffias, Beta Scorpii, the only bright star in the north. This star is an interesting multiple star which is occulted by the Moon on occasion. With its principal component at magnitude 2.6, there are companions of magnitudes 4.9 and 10.3, and there are lesser stars in this system, as well. The giant red star Antares, rival of Mars, is also a double star, with a faint bluish star circling it close by which was discovered in 1819 during an occultation by the Moon.
The two star clusters so magnificantly captured in Conrad Jung's accompanying photo are naked-eye objects, although viewing with binoculars or a small telescope will give a really spectacular sight. M6, at the top of the photo, is called the Butterfly Cluster. M7, 3.5 degrees to the southeast (toward the bottom in the photo), is larger, with a diameter more than that of the full Moon. It contains about 80 member stars brighter than tenth magnitude; they are about 800 light years distant, while the stars of M6 are about twice that far away.
Three other Messier objects are within the realm of Scorpius. They are M4, M62 and M80, all globular clusters. Other clusters and diffuse and planetary nebulas make Scorpius an important and satisfying destination for observers and particularly for astrophotographers.

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