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Navigating with Orion

The Hunter Heralds the Coming of Winter

Orion the Hunter

Image: Naperville Community Unit School District 203

 

Orion the Hunter is a sure sign that winter is near. During the first two weeks of every December you can see him emerge above the eastern horizon at about 8:00pm local time. This heavenly cosmic giant rises horizontally, on his side, and is easy to spot. Look for his illustrious starlit belt. It is marked by three equally spaced bright stars lined up in a row. This famed Hunter's belt always guides you in imagining his hourglass physical form and always helps you discover several well-known heavenly bodies.

 

Image (left): TheSky Astronomy Software Image:(right): Corbis

Shown mid-December at 8:00pm for mid-Northern latitudes.

The familiar winter constellation Orion the Hunter can be seen rising in the evening sky during Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21), marking the approach of winter to the Northern Hemisphere, no matter what the weather is like. Whenever you see Orion just clear the eastern horizon at 8:00pm, you will know that the official beginning of winter, the Winter Solstice, is only 3 short weeks away. You'll notice that Orion rises higher and higher in the heavens, as the weeks go on, taking on his role as the lord the winter nights.

Note: As horizontal Orion rises higher above the eastern horizon, he begins to align vertically, until he towers upright due south. By the time he lies above the western horizon he once again tips horizontally, this time on his opposite side. Notice where his reddish shoulder star, Betelgeuse lies in each direction.

 

Navigating with Orion

The two bright stars above (north of) Orion's belt are his shoulders, and the two bright stars below (south of) the belt are his knee and foot. If you you draw your focus out from the middle star of Orion’s Belt, you will find that it points to the reddish star, Betelgeuse (Orion’s shoulder) on one side and the whitish blue star, Rigel (Orion’s foot) on the other. Look for his hourglass shape.

Now locate the diagonal line of stars below his belt, this is Orion's sword. The red glow in his sword is the Orion Nebula (M42), a stellar nursery, where in several hundred million years young stars will appear from this wealth of cosmic matter.

In the evening sky, if you focus on the three stars in the Belt of Orion and follow them east, you will find they point to the brightest star in the heavens, Sirius (see image below), and if you follow Orion’s belt west, you will find it points toward the reddish orange star, Aldebaran, the eye of illumination in Taurus the Bull (see image below).

Hmmm ... Did you know that the three belt stars of Orion represent the Three Wise Men?

 

Navigating with Orion
December 1-14 - Mid Northern Latitudes – 10:00pm

Image: Distant Suns / Adobe Photoshop

top-north, bottom-south, left-east, right-west

The horizontal yellow line across the middle of the image is the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun, Moon and planets across the sky. The curved yellow line represents the eastern horizon.

Winter's Orion rises in the east as the cosmic Scorpion disappears below the western horizon. The following mythology tells us why.

Scorpius is the legendary killer of Orion. Orion was a great hunter who bragged about his skills until the gods grew tired of his boasting. The scorpion was sent to punish Orion, who never thought of such a small creature as a threat. Once he was stung, it was too late. Both were placed in the sky although Orion's last wish was that he never be in the sky as the same time as the scorpion. Thus, Scorpius rules the northern hemisphere's summer while Orion rules the winter skies. StarySkies.com

As you Look Up at the Hunter of old and set your imagination free, ponder on this. It is said that influential and potent forces are pouring in at this time from the great stars Betelgeuse and Sirius. These forces can aid in the service of those who are spiritually attuned. The forces streaming from Betelegeuse can stimulate the heart center, and the forces from Sirius are able to stimulate the head center. Meditating upon these stars is called for now during these times of global transition. Follow these heavenly main attractions until bedtime, and be blessed in more ways than you imagined!

I'd like to know your thoughts about The Night Sky and
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May your Night Sky traveling always be filled
with Celestial Delights and Treats!
Susan Sun

 

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