Consider the unlikelihood of Orion’s Belt. Here is a map of the night sky for October 2020, showing constellations you can see from mid-northern latitudes such as London or New York in mid-month at 10pm local time. In the film Men in Black (1997) the protagonists look for "the galaxy", a massive energy source which according to an alien "is on Orion's Belt". The shape of different constellations and asterisms changes over time as a result of stars not being stationary and moving through space, but the three stars of the Orion’s Belt share the same origin and have the same proper motion, which means that they travel together, with the asterism retaining a similar shape over the centuries. Orion’s belt is located at the celestial equator, it is part of the most prominent stellar patterns in the northern sky, the hourglass-shaped constellation Orion. The arrangement of the constellations is just too perfect to be an accident, right here and now, at this particular time, to form recognizable shapes. Just about every culture in the world has some star lore that involved Orion. The belt stars are not perfectly aligned, and their alignment matches that of the three pyramids of Giza, while Orion’s orientation to the Milky Way matches the pyramids’ orientation to the river Nile. Out of the 100 brightest stars that cover the entire sky, here are these three that span a tiny separation of less than six lunar diameters. Hap is in the middle and has been shot by the hunter; its blood has dripped onto Tiburón Island.[16]. This means that inhabitants of far northern latitudes cannot see constellations that are close to the celestial south pole, because these are always below the horizon for such viewers, spinning once a day around a point that never comes into view. The stars are more or less evenly spaced in a straight line, and so can be visualized as the belt of the eponymous hunter's clothing. Betelgeuse and Bellatrix mark the hunter’s shoulders and Saiph and Rigel mark his feet. Like the surface of the Earth, the sky can be divided into Northern and Southern Hemispheres (celestial, rather than terrestrial). The Big Dipper is the nickname for the asterism of 7 stars in Ursa Major (the Great Bear) which looks like a saucepan with a handle; two of the seven point to the (current) Pole Star, Polaris. The second star in the Big Dipper’s handle is a double star system visible to the unaided eye. If you're too impatient to wait for nightfall or don't live in a place where Orion appears in the night sky at this time of year, you can consult an interactive online star chart (see Resources for an example) to get a sense of Orion's size, shape and relationship to nearby constellations. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, the Big Dipper is always somewhere in the northern sky, because it is a "circumpolar constellation" — it lies close to the north celestial pole and circles the pole constantly. The best time of year to observe the asterism is in January around 9 PM. The Little Dog, Canis Major, is not much of a pattern, and Gemini does not appear very much like twins. Also captured are the red supergiant Betelgeuse (top left) and the famous belt of Orion composed of the OB stars Altitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. (Originally published in the Classical Astronomy Update newsletter). All rights reserved. Alnilam, also known as ε Orionis (Epsilon Orionis) or 46 Orionis, is the middle star of the Orion’s Belt. Then consider that mainstream science teaches that all the stars are in motion, circling the center of the galaxy, and the current solar neighborhood represents the stars that are “just passing through” at this particular moment in human history, according to the alleged billions of years of the universe. Orion is one of the best-known star patterns in the night sky, along with the Big Dipper. Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer. Look closely at the middle star in Orion's sword, called the Trapezium. Alnitak, also known as ζ Orionis (Zeta Orionis) or 50 Orionis, is a triple star system located at the eastern end of the Belt of Orion. Conveniently, if you follow the line extending through Orion's belt from your right to your left, you will soon "run into" Sirius. The others were added in modern times, and many are simply “crack filler” shapes formed of faint stars, not especially obvious, devised by experienced astronomers, simply to denote blank portions of the sky. The Belt just so happens to lie closely along the celestial equator, the midpoint between the celestial poles, a very useful position, which insures that Orion is the only constellation visible from every single location on the Earth. Pictures from space! This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. is found in the Bible's Book of Job[8] and Book of Amos. High over Orion's head is Capella, in the constellation Auriga the Charioteer. Lindell worked in greyhound racing for 25 years. However, a great number of the brightest and most famous constellations are formed of shapes that are actually quite familiar, and do resemble the figures that they purport to represent. It is 375,000 times more luminous than the Sun. The three stars of the belt are known in Portugal and South America as Las Tres Marías in Spanish, and as "As Três Marias" in Portuguese. According to mainstream secular science, Alnitak is 736 light years from Earth. This is because Orion lies at roughly +5 degrees declination, which is the celestial equivalent of 5 degrees North latitude – in other words, very close to the equator. moment once you lay eyes on either a star chart or the real thing. The three stars that form Orion's belt, which seem so perfectly placed in our sky, are actually nowhere near each other in space. The two stars at either end of Orion’s Belt – Alnitak and Mintaka – are actually closer together because the middle star, Alnilam, which is the brightest of the three, is also much more distant from Earth than the other two. Chances are excellent that if you can't yet picture what Orion looks like, you'll have an "aha!" Hanging off Orion’s belt is a “dagger,” with the middle star in it actually the Great Orion Nebula. Unlike a lot, even most, of the constellations, Orion arguably bears a strong relationship to that for which it is named: a hunter. For one thing, it's visible practically everywhere on Earth. Psalm 19 says that the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork. In this case, an asterism is when a portion of a constellation is more famous than the official constellation. The star system is approximately 736 light years distant from Earth and over 100,000 times more luminous than the Sun. This is only a 2% difference in their respective distances, impossible to see with the eye. Aerial photo of the Giza pyramid complex, image: © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 3.0 (via Wikimedia Commons). I was flabbergasted to calculate these numbers, at how such precision goes against the notion that these stars could be the result of random chance. It gets better. There is a 9th magnitude star along the same line of sight, but it is unclear whether it is physically related to the system or just an optical companion. This is a widely dispersed group of seven bright stars (one in a pair) in six different constellations. The name Ursa Major translates in Latin to “greater she-bear.” It was named Ursa Major because the people of ancient Greece believed the big dipper looked like a big bear. Orion stars – Photo taken by Rogelio Bernal Andreo in October 2010 of the Orion constellation showing the surrounding nebulas of the Orion Molecular Cloud complex. etc.? Looking for Orion's Belt in the night sky is the easiest way to locate Orion in the sky. The supergiant has an apparent magnitude of 2.0 and an absolute magnitude of -5.25, and the dwarf has a visual magnitude of around 4 and an absolute magnitude of -3.0. In ancient Egyptian mythology, Orion and the bright star Sirius represent Osiris and Isis. Orion's belt, on the other hand points to the brightest star in the sky, Sirius. Betelgeuse (pronounced "BEE-tel-joos") is the name of the most famous star in this famed constellation. [11] This might have stemmed from the observation that both Orion's Belt and Antares rise in the east and set in the west, but Antares only rises once Orion's Belt has set and vice versa. It is one of the most familiar asterisms in the night sky, along with the Big Dipper and the Southern Cross. This means that the Orion’s Belt looked almost the same in ancient times as it does now. The Big Dipper is officially an asterism within the official constellation of Ursa Major, or the "Big Bear." Other notable deep sky objects in this region are the emission nebula NGC 2024, also known as the Flame Nebula, and the reflection nebula NGC 2023. It is the brightest star of class O in the night sky. Of these, 48 were known to the ancient Greeks. If you are viewing Orion, you would have to turn around backwards to see the Big Dipper. [5] Its spectrum serves as one of the stable anchor points by which other stars are classified. Both of these asterisms contain, or are close to, other interesting features within their constellations. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor,

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