Archive for January 6, 2022

01/06/2022 – Ephemeris – The named stars of Orion

January 6, 2022 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Thursday, January 6th. Today the Sun will be up for 8 hours and 58 minutes, setting at 5:18, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:19. The Moon, 3 days before first quarter, will set at 10:07 this evening.

Orion is still on an angle, leaning to the left, at 8 to 9 pm in the southeastern sky. It’s seven brightest stars have names from antiquity, and some of them are familiar. Starting from the top left, the bright reddish star is famous Betelgeuse. The top right star is Bellatrix, a name familiar to Harry Potter fans. The three stars of his belt, from bottom to top, are Alnilam, Alnitak, and Mintaka. The final bottom two stars from left to right are Saiph, pronounced “safe”. And blue-white Rigel, usually the brightest star of the constellation. These are the stars of Orion’s shoulders, belt and knees. He has other stars that delineate an arm with an upraised club and an arm holding a lion skin shield and a sword hanging from his belt.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EST, UT – 5 hours). They may be different for your location.


Orion's named stars

Orion’s named stars. Betelgeuse means “Armpit”. Bellatrix means “Female warrior”. The names of Orion’s belt stars refer to belt or girdle, Rigel refers to Orion’s foot. Saiph means sword, however Orion’s sword is the line of three stars below the belt stars. In binoculars, there’s more than three stars here. Around the second “star” of the sword is the Great Orion Nebula, barely visible here. Created using Stellarium.