12/27/2016 – Ephemeris – The stars of Orion
Ephemeris for Tuesday, December 27th. The Sun will rise at 8:19. It’ll be up for 8 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 5:09. The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 7:26 tomorrow morning.
The large and bright constellation of Orion the hunter is in the southeast at 9 p.m., with the bright star Sirius below it near the horizon. The equally spaced line of three stars of Orion’s belt are nearly vertical and point down to Sirius, also known as the Dog Star in Canis Major, Orion’s greater dog. The whole of its constellation stars aren’t up at 9 p.m., but they will all clear the horizon by 10 p.m. Those three belt stars are in the center of an elongated rectangle of stars At the top left of Orion’s shoulder stars is the red giant star Betelgeuse. The right shoulder star is Bellatrix. Both Bellatrix and Sirius along with the names of other stars and constellations should be familiar to fans of the Harry Potter novels and movies, as members of the house of Black. The knee stars at the bottom of the rectangle are, from left to right Saiph and the brilliant blue giant star Rigel. Between his belt and knees are stars of his sword.
Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.
In the image above I’ve added the belt star names, though they are generally covered in a program of their own.