Orion is one of the most beloved constellations, known even to the most occasional stargazer. Located along the celestial equator, Orion is best seen in the evenings, during the Northern hemisphere’s winter and the Southern hemisphere’s summer.
Many ancient cultures from Babylon to China have names for the grouping of stars we know as Orion. The oldest depiction of Orion found to date is a 32,000-year-old carved mammoth tusk found in Germany. The name Orion comes from a hunter from Greek mythology.
But to see Orion in its true glory, you’ll need to look deeper with your eVscope. Here are some of the best stars and deep-sky objects to observe in Orion.
Stars in Orion
- Rigel: this blue supergiant, also called Beta Orionis, is the seventh-brightest star in the sky
- Betelgeuse: a red supergiant, Betelgeuse may soon explode in a supernova
- Bellatrix: a blue-white star whose name means “female warrior”
- Alnilam: this blue supergiant is the middle star of Orion’s Belt
- Alnitak: triple star system in Orion’s Belt, composed of a blue supergiant-subgiant binary and another star
- Saiph: one of the four stars of Orion’s “body,” Saiph is a supergiant star
- Mintaka: a multiple star system found in Orion’s Belt
- Meissa: a giant star with several companions that forms Orion’s head
Deep-Sky Objects in Orion
Also known as M42, the great Orion Nebula lies south of Orion’s Belt. This famous nebula is one of the brightest and most heavily studied nebulae in our night sky. With a telescope, you can see filaments of gas and dust, as well as the dense masses of star-forming regions within the nebula.
Running Man Nebula
This reflection nebula is part of a large complex of nebulae that makes up the northernmost part of Orion’s sword. Located near the Orion Nebula itself, the Running Man Nebula’s blue color comes from the reflected light of young, blue stars.
Monkey Head Nebula
NGC 2174 is an emission nebula, which means it’s full of ionized gases that emit light. It resides 6,400 light-years away. Be sure to try and spot the “monkey’s head”!
M78 or NGC 2068 is the brightest diffuse reflection nebula in our night sky! Reflection nebulae scatter light from a nearby star or multiple stars. M78 is located some 1,350 light-years from Earth.
This majestic nebula is one of the most famous nebulae in our night sky! Also known as Barnard 33, the Horsehead Nebula is a dark tower-like structure of gas and dust where stars are being born. Astronomer Williamina Fleming discovered it in 1888.
Also known as NGC 2024, the Flame Nebula is another emission nebula. It actually gets its colors thanks to Alnitak, one of the stars in Orion’s belt, whose UV light causes the nebula to glow brightly. Dark dust and gas are situated in front of the center of the nebula, giving it the appearance of a crackling fire.
Cosmic Bat Nebula
This ethereal nebula, also known as NGC 1788, is hidden within one of the darkest corners of the Orion constellation. At this nebula’s core lies a cluster of infant stars which are only about a million years old.
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Clear skies! 🔭