The constellation Orion is of particular interest to many backyard astronomers. The constellation includes some of the sky’s brightest stars and because Orion is positioned astride the celestial equator, it can be seen from almost any place on Earth. The three bright stars appearing in a short line in the center of Orion are known as the hunter’s belt, or Orion’s belt.
Two of Orion’s brightest stars are Rigel and Betelgeuse. The name of the red giant Rigel comes from the Arabic word for foot, while the name of the bright blue star at Orion’s shoulder, Betelgeuse, means the house of twins. The rightmost star on Orion’s belt is a double star called delta Orionis and a good pair of binoculars will reveal the pair clearly.
The Orion Nebula (also known as Messier 42, M42, or NGC 1976) is a diffuse nebula situated bellow Orion’s Belt. It is one of the most popular and brightest nebulae. In fact, it is so bright that the naked eye can easily spot it in dark skies with no light pollution. It is a very popular target for those who practice astrophotography. The Orion constellation is also home to the famous Horse Head Nebula, an extremely difficult target to photograph.
Mythology of Orion
Many cultures associate the constellation of Orion with an individual of enormous size and strength, more so than Hercules. The Arabs called Orion al-Jabbar which means the Giant. They also referred to it as al-Badadur, the Strong One. The Irish referenced the constellation as Caeomai, the Armed King. Jews described it as Gibbor and linked it to the hunter Nimrod, although in biblical times it was known as Kislev. The term Kislev references the Hebrew month that coincides with December, which happens to be a great time to view Orion.
The Greeks described Orion as Homer, the most exalted and beautiful of mankind. Orion was a hunter for the goddess of hunting, Diana. Orion angered the gods with his arrogance and they sent a scorpion to sting and kill him. After Orion died, Diana requested that be placed in the sky. She also had the scorpion placed in the sky at the opposite end.
Orion Correlation Theory
An interesting theory links the pyramids of Giza with Orion’s belt and other stars. Learn more about it in the following video.
Best Astrophotography Telescopes Kits
If you are interested in astrophotography, why not sign up for our free astrophotography guide.
Orion Awesome AutoGuider Refractor Telescope Package
Orion Lunar and Planetary Explorer Astrophotography Bundle
Orion Stars & Solar System Astrophotography Telescope Bundle
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