THE BIG SKY
WINTER BRINGS OUT the huntsman. He’s an iconic character with a big celestial story to tell. To find him, look towards your south on a clear January evening. You’ll likely notice his belt first; three bright white stars slung together in a line that means so much to Men
InBlack aficionados. But Orion is much bigger than his belt. A giant rectangle of four bright stars enclose the belt, marking out Orion’s shoulders and feet. Above his fiery orange left shoulder he holds a club aloft; off his right shoulder he draws his bow, and from his belt hangs his sword.
This guy really is the Ancient Greeks’ version of Action Man. Dig a little deeper though and our Huntsman yields some truly stellar secrets. Switch your view to binoculars and train them on the sword. Notice that uneven cloud of misty light? It’s a stellar nursery where new stars are being born. Now take a closer look at Orion’s left shoulder. That fiery orange star is Betelgeuse – a red supergiant 950 times bigger than our sun, on the verge of exploding as a supernova. It’s birth and death in the universe inside one constellation.
Orion: The constellation of Orion is much bigger than just Orion’s Belt Image Credit Seb Jay