Watch For Orion In January Skies
Orion the Hunter is the brightest of the constellations and perhaps the best known. In Greek mythology, Orion is described with his dog Sirius and was known for roaming the underworld holding a bronze club.
In January the constellation can be seen rising above the eastern mountains by 7PM. It is easy to recognize because of its shape and notable bright stars, such as Betelgeuse, a bright reddish colored star, and Rigel a brilliant bluish white star.
The constellation also contains a belt of three closely spaced stars in a row and a sword below the belt. The Great Orion Nebula is one of the most famous deep sky objects to look at though a telescope or binocular and resides in the sword of Orion below the three stars that make the belt. Color images of this nebula make this one of the most picturesque and colorful images in the night time sky. The nebula is made of molecular gas and dust and is a star-forming region in the Milky Way.
A view of the belt region through binoculars will reveal a multitude of stars unseen with the naked eye and reminds one of seeing city lights from the view of an airplane high overhead. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to observe this great constellation this would be a good time to do so.