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Orion Constellation

Orion (Pronounciation:Ore-i-on, Abbrev:Ori) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Orion takes up 594.12 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 1.44% of the night sky. The constellation gets its name as it name means The Hunter . The constellation is one of the original constellations that was devised by the Ancient Greco-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy who lived between 90 A.D. and 168 A.D.

Orion is an equatorial constellation that can be seen by countries nearest the Equator. The brightest star in Orion is Rigel. There are 10 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) detailed on this site.

Legend of the Constellation

Orion was a strong hunter who attracted the eyes of many women and goddesses. This caused a lot of jealousy. He was created for a poor shepherd when he looked after Zeus one night. The goddess Artemis was infatuated with the hunter which made Apollo angry. He sent Scorpius to kill Orion. The scorpion scarpered and Orion followed. Apollo tricked Artemis into killing Orion with her bow. Apollo put him along with his dog Sirius into the sky. The Pleiades are said to be seven daughters of Atlas, the Titan. When Orion started his infatuation for them, Zeus turned them first into doves then stars to keep Atlas company.

Items of Interest

Orion thanks to the three stars that make up the belt is one of the most easiest constellations to identify in the night sky. If you are in the northern hemisphere, you just need to look in a southerly direction to spot the constellation.

Betelgeuse is the star that is most likely to turn into supernova soon. However given that we`re so far away from the star, it will not affect life on Earth. It will also not happen for thousands of years but when it does, it will be relatively near compared to other explosions.

The constellation contains two of the most famous nebulas, the Horsehead Nebula, to the "south" of Alnitak, so called because at the centre is a dark spot in the shape of a Horses head. The other being the Great Orion Nebula, a beautiful looking nebula.

Meteor Showers

There are 13 Meteor Showers that occur during the year within this constellation based on information gathered from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). The ones listed as the ones I've been able to find a date range for. For others if you have the time, you can visit the AMU site, obtains the SL value then use IMO tables to calculate the date. A lot of the Meteor Showers are weak and you need to do a lot of stargazing to spot them.

NameActivityPeak ActivityClosest Star
OrionidsOctober 15-29Oct. 21Xi Orionis

Orion Constellation Map

Orion Constellation Star Map

List of Named Stars in Orion

StarDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
Alnilam1342.24-01 d 12 ` 06.905h 36m 12.81
Alnitak817.45-01 d 56 ` 33.305h 40m 45.52
Bellatrix243.04+06 d 20 ` 59.005h 25m 07.87
Betelgeuse427.47+07 d 24 ` 25.305h 55m 10.29
Hatysa1325.87-05 d 54 ` 35.605h 35m 25.98
Meissa1055.54+09 d 56 ` 03.005h 35m 08.28
Mintaka916.19-00 d 17 ` 56.705h 32m 00.40
Nair Al Saif1325.87-05 d 54 ` 35.605h 35m 25.98
Ogma257.23+38 d 20`49.816h 30m 29.68
Rigel772.9-08 d 12`05.905h 14m 32.27
Saiph721.6-09 d 40 ` 10.605h 47m 45.39
Tabit26.18+06 d 57 ` 40.504h 49m 50.14
Thabit1545.8-07 d 18 ` 05.505h 31m 55.86

Objects of Interest (Galaxies, Nebulas, Supernovas, etc) in Orion

NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
De Mairan's NebulaEmission/Reflection Nebula1.6-05:1605h 35m 6
Horsehead NebulaDark Nebula1.500-02:27:3005h 40m 59m 0s
M78 Reflection NebulaReflection Nebula1.6+00:0305h 46m 7
The Great Orion NebulaEmission/Reflection Nebula1.324-1.364-05:2705h 35m 4

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