Just look up in the winter sky and there is Orion constellation of the hunter.
Near the river Eridanus with his hounds Canis Major the great dog, and Canis Minor the lesser dog.
Orion is hunting Lepus the hare and Taurus the bull.
This is still my favorite constellation. As a little kid I loved to search for the three stars that formed Orion's belt. He was always there on those cold, dark nights strolling by the river hunting with his dogs.
This constellation is so bright with 7 stars at better than 3rd magnitude and the easily recognized belt.
Of course it helps that he has a big, bright left foot, and a red shoulder.
In the mythology Orion lost his life and gained a place in the stars because of his battle with the giant scorpion Scorpius.
It was a fierce battle lasting 3 days and attracting the attention of Zeus.
Orion was killed when he stepped on Scorpius and was stung in the heel.
Both Orion and Scorpius were granted places in the sky, but on opposite sides of the world. The scorpion would never hurt him again.
When you're ready to hunt stars let me and Orion serve as your guides.
Like The Big Dipper, the Orion constellation can be used to find other stars and constellations.
Extending the belt of Orion to the southeast will lead you to Sirius the dog star in Canis Major.
Going across the shoulders from Bellatrix to Betelgeuse finds Procyon in Canis Minor.
Drawing a line from Rigel through Betelgeuse points to Castor and Pollux the Twins of Gemini.
Rigel is part of the Winter Circle asterism. Betelgeuse along with the bright stars Sirius and Procyon form the Winter Triangle. Use the base of the Winter Triangle to complete the Winter Circle.
Follow from Sirius >Procyon>Pollux>Capella>Aldebaran>Rigel.
Right Ascension: 5 hours
Declination: 5 degrees
Visible between latitudes +85 and -75 degrees
Best seen in January at 9:00 PM local time
Named Stars: BETELGEUSE (Alpha Orionis) RIGEL (Beta Orionis) BELLATRIX (Gamma Orionis)
MINTAKA (Delta Orionis) ALNILAM (Epsilon Orionis) ALNITAK (Zeta Orionis) SAIPH (Kappa Orionis)
Rigel(Beta Orionis) the left foot, the sixth brightest star in the sky, is actually the brightest star in the constellation.
The right shoulder Betelgeuse(Alpha Orionis), is second brightest and is a variable star. It was named during a period of brightness making it appear more luminous than Rigel.
Betelgeuse is an old star and is so massive that when it explodes in a few thousand years it will become so bright it will be visible during the day.
Bellatrix the left shoulder is known as the "Amazon star". It's the 22nd brightest star.
The Orion constellation is filled with many different types of nebulae.
The Orion nebula M42 is seen as the middle star in the sword of Orion hanging from his belt.
The Horsehead Nebula B33 is a dark dust cloud in front of emission nebula IC434. The shape of the dust cloud gives the nebula its name.
Below the belt star Alnitak is the Flame nebula NGC2024.
Blue reflection nebula NGC2023 is below right of the Flame nebula and below left of the Horsehead Nebula.
Other reflection nebulae are IC435, IC432, IC431.
These nebulae are visible in binoculars and small telescopes and more nebulae become visible in larger size scopes.
Be sure to check out the Orionids meteor shower during mid to late October.
Sharing boundaries with: Gemini Taurus Eridanus Lepus Monoceros