Orion includes the prominent asterism known as the 'belt' of Orion: three bright stars in a row. Surrounding the belt at roughly similar distances are four bright stars, which are considered to represent the outline of the hunter's body. Apparently descending from the 'belt' is a smaller line of three stars (one of which is in fact not a star but the Orion Nebula), known as the hunter's 'sword'.

In artistic renderings, the surrounding constellations are sometimes related to Orion: he is depicted standing next to the river Eridanus with his two hunting dogs Canis Major and Canis Minor, fighting Taurus the bull. He is sometimes depicted hunting Lepus the hare.

There are alternative ways to visualize Orion. From the Southern Hemisphere, Orion is oriented differently, and the belt and sword are sometimes called the Saucepan, or Pot in Australia. Orion's Belt is called Drie Konings (Three Kings) or the Drie Susters (Three Sisters) by Afrikaans speakers in South Africa, and are referred to as les Trois Rois (the Three Kings) in Daudet's Lettres de Mon Moulin (1866). The appellation Driekoningen (the Three Kings) is also often found in 17th- and 18th-century Dutch star charts and seaman's guides.

In the tropics (less than 8° from the equator) the constellation transits in the zenith which is best seen in Nov-Feb each year. In the northern hemisphere it is a winter constellation and then it is summer in the southern. However, in Antarctica it is best seen in winter as in summer the Sun does not set and therefore no stars are visible. In winter (May-July) , Orion is in the 'daytime' sky, however for most of Antarctica, the Sun is below the horizon even at midday, so stars (and thus Orion) are visible in at most twilight sky.

Points of Interest


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See Also

Links and References


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