The Hunter

Fully Visible:67°S – 79°N

Both the Babylonians and the Egyptians made constellations out of the stars of Orion but its name comes from Greek mythology. There are a number, sometimes contradictory, stories regarding him, but Orion is certainly associated with the scorpion against whom he waged a deadly battle. He is accompanied in the sky by his two hunting dogs, the greater dog and the lesser dog.

The constellation of Orion

Notable Features

α Ori Betelgeuse This is a first magnitude star and the first star whose diameter was measured with an interferometer (1920). In Hindu astronomy, it is known as Ardra, from the Sanskrit Ārdrā meaning 'the moist one'. A known variable star, Betelgeuse began to dim noticeably in October 2019, eventually becoming the faintest of the first magnitude stars. The reason for this large change in brightness is still being investigated.
β Ori Rigel Rigel is another first magnitude star and is actually the brightest one in this constellation.
γ Ori Bellatrix This star appears as Menkib al Djauza al Aisr (from the Arabic al‑mankib al‑jawzāʾ lʾaysar meaning 'the left shoulder of al‑Jawzāʾ') in Mohammad Al Achsasi Al Mouakket's calendarium.
δ Ori Mintaka Mintaka is the westernmost star in the belt. It appears as Aoul al Nazhm (from the Arabic awwal al‑niżm meaning 'the first in the string of pearls') in Mohammad Al Achsasi Al Mouakket's calendarium.
ε Ori Alnilam Alnilam is the central star in the belt.
ζ Ori Alnitak Alnitak is the easternmost star in the belt.
ι Ori Hatysa The derivation of this name is unknown but it may be a corruption of the Arabic al‑Jawāzī meaning 'the Jawzāʾ stars'.
κ Ori Saiph This star appears as Rekbah al Djauza al Yemeniat (from the Arabic ar‑rukbah al‑jawzāʾ al‑yamīn meaning 'the right knee of al‑Jawzāʾ') in Mohammad Al Achsasi Al Mouakket's calendarium.
λ Ori Meissa This star sometimes appears as Heka (from the Arabic al‑haqʿah meaning 'the hair whorl') in older star atlases and catalogues. It also appears as Ras al Djauza (from the Arabic raʾs al‑jawzāʾ meaning 'the head of al‑Jawzāʾ') in Mohammad Al Achsasi Al Mouakket's calendarium.
π³ Ori Tabit This star appears as Wasat Taj al Djauza (from the Arabic wasṭ tāj al‑jawzāʾ meaning 'the middle jewel of the crown of al‑Jawzāʾ') in Mohammad Al Achsasi Al Mouakket's calendarium.
Deep Sky Objects
M42 Great Orion Nebula This famed object lies just south of 'Orion's Belt'. It is one of the brightest nebulae in the sky and is visible to the naked eye. Star formation is taking place within it.
M43 This is part of the Great Orion Nebula, separated from it by a lane of dark dust.
M78 Optical aids are required to see this bright reflection nebula.
IC 434 This is another nebula that lies just off the belt of Orion and contains the famous Horsehead Nebula. The outline of a horse's head can be seen only in long exposure photographs, however.
NGC 1977 This reflection nebula is just northeast of the Great Orion Nebula.
Meteor Shower Radiants
008 ORI Orionids About half of the fast, sometimes bright October meteors leave trains. Like the η Aquariids in the constellation Aquarius, this shower is associated with comet 1P/Halley. The radiant is near the club of Orion so it is visible to observers in both hemispheres.