Archive - Oct 26, 2005

Old Friend Orion

Got up early enough this morning to see the constellation Orion in the southwest skies. Orion is a "winter constellation," meaning that it is visible in the winter skies only. So, its appearance marks the change in seasons.

Most constellations consist of unrelated stars which happen to line up in our vision from earth. The ancients, who spent a lot more time than we do observing the skies, named the constellations for figures in their mythology. Those names have stuck, even in modern astronomy, as a way of navigating the geography of the night sky.