Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Orion and his belt of stars

The sparkling Stars of the Orion nebular Source
This weekend I couldn't for the life of me think of anything beginning with the letter O. It's Funny how when you really try to think of something and to come up with an answer it eludes you, but this morning while sitting down to write a new post about Space the name popped into my mind. How on earth could I not think of Orion, it's played such a huge part in our understanding of the universe for Millenia now. Anyway, here we go.
Orion is without a doubt the most recognized star cluster in the world. Orion can be seen from anywhere on the planet and is definitely the most easily recognizes with his belt of stars and sword ready for the draw.
Orion's belt is the first thing I look for when looking up at the night sky, even before I look for the Southern Cross which is only visible in the Southern Hemisphere.
According to ancient Mythology Orion was a great hunter who was slain for upsetting the wife of Zeus, Hera. According to Greek Mythology she was upset because Orion declared himself the greatest hunter in the world, she then had a scorpion sting him to death. Of course Zeus wasn't at all pleased by his wife's jealousy so, in order to compensate Orion, He put him in the sky where he has remained for all the world to see for all time. Cool, I like that kind of compensation.
There are seven stars that make up the Orion nebula: Betelgeuse being his right shoulder, Rigel, his left foot, Bellatrix, his left shoulder, Mintaka marks the northern most and western most points in Orion's belt.  Other stars that make up Orion the great hunter are: Alnilam, the middle belt star, Alnitak being the eastern star in the belt and then there is Saiph, his right foot. Lesser stars making up Orion are: Meissa, his head and Hatsya the brightest star in his sword.
Orion is probably the most loved character in our starry night skies. From the northern hemisphere he is seen standing on his feet but here in the southern hemisphere we see him hanging upside down, very weird. Anyway I need to get back to work again so I'm going to bid you all well and ask that the Lord who made the heavens and all that is in them, including Orion, bless you with peace this day, Geoff.

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