Orion the Hunter - Free downloadable preview
Famous for bold stars and strong, linear features, the Hunter trims his warrior attire with some of the most gorgeous nebulae in the sky.
March 3, 2009
This downloadable article is from an Astronomy magazine 45-article series called "Celestial Portraits." The collection highlights all 88 constellations in the sky and explains how to observe each constellation's deep-sky targets. The articles feature star charts, stunning pictures, and constellation mythology. We've put together 11 digital packages. Each one contains four Celestial Portraits articles for you to purchase and download.|
"Orion the Hunter" is available to download as a free preview.
No constellation dominates the winter sky like Orion the Hunter. Its brightest stars form one of the best known celestial shapes, which is visible even from cities. The plane of the Milky Way clips the northeast corner of the constellation and manifests itself as a featureless, hazy band through the neighboring constellations of Gemini and Monoceros.
Orion's seven brightest stars are all 2nd magnitude or better. Most spectacular is Rigel, which shines at nearly magnitude 0 despite its great distance, just shy of 1,000 light-years. A 7th-magnitude companion to Rigel lies just 9" to the south. Betelgeuse is a red giant half as far away as Rigel. With an angular size of over 0.1", Betelgeuse's diameter would encompass the orbit of Jupiter. All three of Orion's "belt stars" are blue-white suns of very similar spectral types. On transparent nights, look for the large number of 6th- and 7th-magnitude stars clustered around the belt. To read the complete article, download the free preview.
|Deep-sky objects in Orion|
J320, W Orionis, NGC 1788, M42 (NGC 1976), M43 (NGC 1982), NGC 1975, NGC 1999, NGC 2024, Barnard 33 (Horsehead Nebula), M78 (NGC 2068), Sh2-276 (Barnard's Loop), NGC 2112, NGC 2022, Abell 12, NGC 2141, NGC 2194, NGC 2169, NGC 2174