Orion’s Belt (And Braces)


Behold: a long exposure (taken over several nights earlier this year) of the constellation of Orion – not just three stars in a row, rather, a direction in space rich with impressive nebulae. To wit:

 Of the many interesting details that have become visible, one that particularly draws the eye is Barnard’s Loop, the bright red orange arc just to the right of the image center. The Rosette Nebula is not the giant orange nebula just to the left of the image center — that is larger but lesser known nebula known as the Meissa Ring. The Rosette Nebula is visible, though: it is the bright orange, blue and white nebula near the image bottom. The bright orange star just left of the frame center is Betelgeuse, while the bright blue star on the upper right is Rigel. About those famous three stars that cross the belt of Orion the Hunter — in this busy frame they can be hard to locate, but a discerning eye will find them just to the right of the image center.

(Image: Andrew Klinger)


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7 thoughts on “Orion’s Belt (And Braces)

    1. newsjustin

      It’s also one the easiest in the whole sky to spot. Even by someone as clueless about stargazing as me.

    2. Slightly Bemused

      …At the beep, the time will be Three Forty Two and ten seconds…. Beep!

  1. Spaghetti Hoop

    This was my very favourite constellation as a young spacer. Because I was reading from a book and TV was two channels of rubbish, I thought Betelgeuse was pronounced bet-el-gee-use-y, until I heard Patrick Moore say it on Sky at Night. It’s the best name for a star instead of the codes they use now – how are kids supposed to remember planets and stars if you give them crap names? Anyway, Betelgeuse is a big orange star flickering like a flame in Orion’s heel but it’s actually a cool star as opposed to the ‘white’ hot Rigel up in the hunter’s shoulder. The myth of Orion is that he boasted a lot about his hunting skills and vowed that he could kill any beast on earth. The goddess Artemis, daughter of Zeus, actually really admired Orion but thought to herself – this guy is insufferable with his pride – he needs his wings clipping – I’m sure there is one creature that he cannot conquer. So she sent the bold scorpion, who instantly stung him in the heel (hence the flickering orange Betelgeuse). Zeus, Artemis’s oul lad, thought this was gas craic altogether and a fine achievement for both Artemis and the scorpion and a deserved come uppance to the arrogant hunter. So he honoured and raised Scorpo into the stellar sky – and he honoured and raised Orion too (who had learned his lesson) – but in opposite ends of the sky, so that Scorpio in the South is forever chasing Orion across the universe to remind him to be humble.

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