The constellation of Orion is my favourite constellation of all the 88 there is in our night sky, it was also the first constellation I saw and one of the main reasons I have an interest in Astronomy. It sits in the winter sky from around November through until March and contains some of the biggest and brightest stars in the night sky.
Betelgeuse is a red supergiant star that is the 8th brightest star in the sky and could explode as a supernova any time soon. It sits in the top left of the constellation. In the bottom left another large star is located by the name of Rigel. This is a blue supergiant and the 6th brightest star in the night sky. The other 2 corners of Orion are formed by the two stars Saiph and Bellatrix.
The most famous and recognisable part of Orion, is Orion’s belt, which is made up of three stars (from left to right) Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. Mintaka is a double star and this can be easily seen through a small telescope. I have been lucky enough to see the double star myself on a couple of occasions.
Orion also is the radiant of the Orionids meteor shower. This meteor shower produces up to 20 meteors an hour, although in some years the Orionids has produced as much as 70 meteors an hour. It can be seen around the 20th of October each year.
My favourite object to observe in Orion is the Orion nebula, just below Orion’s belt. It is a diffuse nebula, and is the location of many examples of star formation. It is bright enough to see by the naked eye, but is a wonderful sight in binoculars and a telescope. When viewing through binoculars of a telescope a young star cluster called the Trapezium, is visible.
So that’s the constellation of Orion. But I will leave you with one more fact. According to Greek myth; Orion, the hunter, and Scorpius (another constellation which takes the form of a scorpion) can never be in the same piece of sky at the same time. This is because Orion and Scorpius were always fighting leading to them being separated by the Gods. So If Orion is rising, Scorpius will be setting.
This video displays Orion and all its wonders amazingly, check it out here
- getting started with Astronomy (vamoswearegolden.wordpress.com)
- Stars of Orion Shine Over Ancient Castle (Photo) (space.com)
- Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse | Space Wallpaper (livescience.com)
General information on Orion was sourced from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_(constellation)
- Information on the Orionids meteor shower was sourced from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orionids
- Information on the Orion nebula was sourced from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_Nebula
- Orion video sourced from you tube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqV7KMjw9jY
- copyright for the ‘Orion a brief tour’ video belongs to ©LeCramp on YouTube