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☆A Poem

One of the most famous poems about the legend was written by Qin Guan of in the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

Fairy Of The Magpie Bridge

Among the beautiful clouds,
Over the heavenly river,
Crosses the weaving maiden.

A night of rendezvous,
Across the autumn sky.

Surpasses joy on earth.
Moments of tender love and dream,
So sad to leave the magpie bridge.

Eternal love between us two,
Shall withstand the time apart.
(Translated by Kylie Hsu)

鹊桥仙 (宋·秦观)

织云弄巧
飞星传恨
银汉迢迢暗度

金风玉露一相逢
便胜却人间无数

柔情似水
佳期如梦
忍顾鹊桥归路

两情若是久长时
又岂在朝朝暮暮

Gaze up to where the Milky Way (or "Heavenly River" in Chinese) traverses the night sky and you will see a constellation of five small stars on the east bank. This is Vega, also called the Weaving Maid or "Zhi Nu." Opposite to her, on the distant western bank, is Altair, also known as Cowherd or "Niu Lang ", shining brilliantly throughout the ages -- lonely and waiting.

Since Vega is the fifth brightest star in the sky, it is therefore very easy to spot on a summer night. Vega is 16 times bigger than the sun and its surface temperature tops 10,000 degrees Celsius. Vega is also 25 times brighter than the sun and 25 light years away from Earth.

Altair, as the 11th brightest star in the sky, is also easy to spot on a summer night. Altair is four times bigger than the sun at a surface temperature of about 8,000 degrees Celsius. It is 11 times brighter than the sun and 17 light years away from Earth.

Two stars Alshain and Tarazed, located on each side of Altair, are said to be the cowherd's two children. Since the distance between Vega and Altair is 16 light years, they cannot meet in the sky. In the story, the magpie bridge allowed the Weaving Maid and cowherd to meet.

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