Tuesday, 18 April 2017

O is for Orion

Orion has got to be my favouritest constellation. It's so big and obvious and has so many nifty features that makes it ideal for introducing people to astronomy.

Orion sits right over our equator so it's visible to most of the Earth, making it accessible to pretty much every human. Even if you're at the North Pole or in Antarctica, you will still be able to partially view Orion.

Honestly, I don't know where to begin in sharing the awesomeness of this constellation. I'll touch on a few things, but leave the rest of the exploration of this fabulous constellation to you. Right now Orion will be sitting low in the western sky, just after sunset.

On a planisphere, it looks like this:

In the sky it looks like this:

Best viewing time: January, when it's high in the sky, but not too late at night.

The major stars are called:

  • Betelgeuse (obviously red)
  • Rigel (obviously blue)
  • Bellatrix
  • Mintaka
  • Alnilam
  • Alnitak
  • Saiph

The Orionid Meteor Shower in October is thanks to Halley's Comet.

There are lots of nebulae in Orion (known collectively as the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex), but the Orion Nebula can be seen with the naked eye. It forms the sword hanging from Orion's Belt.

The Horsehead Nebula is a dark nebula, like we talked about yesterday. Use your telescope to see this one.

Because Orion comes in upside down in Australia, the belt and sword become an asterism called The Saucepan or The Pot:

I love Orion. What's your favourite constellation and why?

Her Grace will also observe Orion in July, when it reappears in the sky in the early-morning before dawn.


Anonymous said...

Great post, very interesting. Orion and Orion’s belt are beautiful. As for my favourite constellation I’m actually not sure.
O for Occupation

Kalpana said...

I like Orion a lot too. Mainly because I can easily recognise Orion's belt. I enjoyed your post.

Offspring#Lexicon of Leaving

Donna Smith said...

Orion has been a favorite, but you know so much more about it than I ever thought possible to know about it! I'm also a fan of the dippers, since as a child all these were ones my mother pointed out. Love, love looking at stars! Someday I should get a telescope.
Donna Smith
Mainely Write

Unknown said...

Before I learnt about Orion constellation in school, I was introduced to it by my grandfather on one of the starry nights. It really never ceases fades to attract my attention even today.
Very informative post coupled with clear pictures!
Anagha From Team MocktailMommies
Collage Of Life