Magnificent Orion

Looking up at south in the clear night sky mid-evening these days you’ll see the magnificent constellation of Orion, the hunter:

According to Greek mythology, Orion was in love with Merope, one of the Seven Sisters who form the Pleiades, but Merope would have nothing to do with him. Orion’s tragic life ended when he stepped on Scorpius, the scorpion. The gods felt sorry for him, so they put him and his dogs in the sky as constellations. They also put all of the animals he hunted up there near him. Scorpius, however, was placed on the opposite side of the sky so Orion would never be hurt by it again. (The Constellations and their Stars)

The Pleiades, or M45, aren’t far away from Orion. Look highter up and more to the west (to the "right") and see a small cluster of stars easily visible with the unaided eye.

The constellation Orion resembles a butterfly on it’s side, with the shoulders and legs coinciding with the four wingtips. In the middle you see three bright stars, Alnilam, Alnitak and Mintaka forming the girdle of the hunter; hanging from it is his sword, with the stunning Orion nebula (M42) in it. It’s a spectacle in faint green when looked at through a telescope or binoculars. If overcast turns to stars, and rain’s replaced by cold, go outside and watch it. You won’t regret it.

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