11
Jan 10

Orion

This is a great time of the year to see one of the largest and most spectacular constellations in the sky – Orion, the hunter. It is extremely easy to locate, simply go outside at about 9 pm, face south, look up to about 45° degrees above the horizon and there it is! The first thing that should strike you is the three bright stars in a row from “bottom left to top right”, this is the hunter’s belt and is in the middle of the constellation; surrounding the belt at roughly similar distances are four bright stars, which are considered to represent the outline of the hunter's body, and, descending from the 'belt' is a smaller line of three stars (the middle of which is in fact not a star but the Orion Nebula), known as the hunter's 'sword'.

If you have a pair of binoculars, take a look at the sword and you should be able to see the “hazy” form of the Orion nebula – an area where new stars are being formed!

Orion contains two of the brightest stars in the sky, above and to the left of the belt you will find a reddish star called Betelgeuse and below and to the right of the belt you will find a bluish star called Rigel.

In the next posting we’ll see how Orion can be used to find some other interesting objects in the sky.

If you would like to learn more about Orion, take a look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_(constellation)

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