Orion

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Name(s)

The scientific name for Orion is The Hunter.

The mythological name for Orion is Orion

The Legend

Orion attempted to gain possession of the maiden by violence. Meorope father, incensed at this conduct, having made Orion drunk, deprived him of his sight and cast him out on the seashore. The blinded hero followed the sound of a Cyclops' hammer till he reached Lemnos, and came to the forge of Vulcan, who, taking pity on him, gave him Kedalion, one of his men, to be his guide to the abode of the sun. Placing Kedalion on his shoulders, Orion proceeded to the east, and there meeting the sun-god, was restored to sight by his beam.

After this he dwelt as a hunter with Diana, with whom he was a favourite, and it is even said she was about to marry him. Her brother [Apollo] was highly displeased and chid her [she was, after all, a virgin huntress], but to no purpose. One day, observing Orion wading through the ocean with his head just above the water, Apollo pointed it out to his sister and maintained that she could not hit that black thing on the sea. The archer-goddess discharged a shaft with fatal aim. The waves rolled the body of Orion to the land, and bewailing her fatal error with many tears, Diana placed him among the stars

Where and how to find the constellation and at what time of the year

Where: In the sky at night

How: Look up and look for 3 stars in a diagonal line, you found Orion's Belt, so that means you found Orion

Time Of Year: You can see Orion during the winter the best because it is big and bright.

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Interesting Facts

  • Orion’s appearance in the night sky means that winter is coming. From mid-northern latitudes, Orion is visible in the evening from November to early May, and in the morning from late July to November.
  • Below his belt you can see 3 stars, which represent the giant’s sword. The middle star is, in actual fact, not a star but a nebula. The Orion Nebula (M42) is a huge cloud of dust and gas almost 6 light years across inside which new stars are being formed. It is 1500 light years distant and at the center of the nebula are four stars, known as “The Trapezium” which help light it up.
  • Orion contains 2 of the 10 brightest stars in the night sky. The constellation of Orion’s brightest star is Rigel (Blue white super giant), which is some 773 light-years away and represents the hunter’s left knee. Next brightest is Betelgeuse (red super giant), 500 light years from Earth and depicting the top right shoulder of Orion.
  • The 3 bright stars in the constellation’s middle represent Orion’s sword belt. The equator of the sky passes close to the upper star of his belt, so that half of Orion is in the Northern hemisphere, and the other half is in the southern hemisphere.
  • Orion is depicted as fighting a bull, represented by the nearby constellation of Taurus. The very bright, red star on the top left corner of Taurus is called Aldebaran and represents the eye of the bull. The constellation Taurus consists of two groups of stars called Hyades (“the rainy ones”) and Pleiades, which are a star cluster containing hundreds of young blue stars, only a handful of which can be seen with the naked eye.
  • The constellation Orion is pictured as a giant hunter with a shield in his hand, a belt and sword around his waist, and surrounded by his hunting dogs (Canis Major and Canis Minor). Beneath Orion’s feet, his dogs are pursuing a hare (or rabbit) in the form of the constellation Lepus who, like its wild namesake, is keeping a low profile in the celestial undergrowth.