Winter sky in the Northern hemisphere no less curious for astronomers than the summer. It was during this period of observation available to a large number of sufficiently bright stars. One of the most prominent heavenly figures in the cold season is the constellation Orion. It occupies a vast area and is well known thanks to several bright stars in its composition, as well as recognizable form. One of the main "attractions" of the constellation is the asterism of Orion's belt.


Orion's belt in the sky

Heavenly figure in General is easily recognizable. However, his most famous item — the belt of Orion. It is often determined the whole constellation. How to find in the sky Orion's belt? You need to pay attention on the southeastern part of the dome overhead. There are winter and spring evenings and late at night in the autumn is Grand in size constellation. Find out belt is not difficult: it consists of three fairly well marked stars lined up on the same line. If you extend a line down and to the left, it will rest in Sirius, the brightest luminary of the night sky. On the other hand, above and to the right, is the star Aldebaran, in Taurus the most notable.

Bright points

The constellation of Orion is famous for, except the belt, several large bodies. Particularly among them are Rigel and Betelgeuse. The first blue-white supergiant. It is located to the right of the waist, the foot of Orion. This star is much brighter than the Sun and is one of the first places this parameter in our galaxy.

Betelgeuse is the shoulder of Orion, above and to the left of the belt. It is well recognized by its characteristic reddish color. This supergiant is of type variable stars and sometimes becomes brighter than Rigel.

Equally interesting is Bellatrix - the second shoulder of Orion. This is the third brightest star in the sky pattern. In its color, it is similar to Riegel, belongs to the type of blue and white giants.

Three stars

In the heavenly figure of the legendary hunter (Orion "born" from mythology of Ancient Greece) there are many curious objects. This bright stars, and nebulae, and clusters of stars. But let us return to the belt of Orion. It consists of three stars: Delta of Jety and Epsilon of the constellation. They are Arabic names mintaka, Alnilam and Alnitak respectively.

Orion's belt in the sky due to its visibility is known since ancient times among various peoples. In the history it is linked with various mythological subjects. Together with the legends followed and the name of the asterism. In Ancient China it was known as a Rocker balance or Three stars. In Scandinavia prior to the adoption of Christianity, the asterism was named the Distaff of Freya. The Buryats called the belt of Orion Eid al-Bayran, that is "three challenges". The popularity of asterism — a consequence of the visibility of stars and their location on almost a straight line.

The leftmost star of the asterism — Alnitak (translates as "sash"). It is closest to the Sun among all luminaries of the belt: it separates us from 817 light-years. Alnitak is a triple star system. Zeta Orion, A blue supergiant of spectral class O. It exceeds Sun mass in twenty-eight times, and the diameter is twenty. Her companion, Alnitak In, was opened in 1819. It's a star-a giant, orbiting the Jety of Orion And a period of 1500 years.

The third component of the system for a long time was not known to scientists. Alnitak With opened recently, in 1998. He was a star of the tenth magnitude.

The second shone from among the encircling Orion star Alnilam. In Arabic the name means "string of pearls". Alnilam is a blue supergiant, and its luminosity is ahead of many other stars. In the image of the heavenly hunter she ranks fourth in brightness after Rigel, Betelgeuse and Bellatrix.

Alnilam is used in astronomical navigation to determine the coordinates of ground objects, as well as for orientation of space vehicles. In addition, secondary Shine of the belt due to its relatively simple spectrum tells scientists a lot about the interstellar medium.

Alnilam gradually moves to the final phase of his cycle. Scientists predict that within one million years it will turn into a red supergiant, and then a supernova will explode.

The third star that makes up Orion’s belt is Mintaka (the name means “belt” in Arabic). It is also a blue supergiant. He ranks seventh in brightness in the constellation.

Mintaka is a multiple system. One of the companions of the main element, the white Orb of the 7-th magnitude, it is easy to distinguish, even in a small telescope. Much further it is less noticeable party system. Star of the 14th magnitude.

The main and most striking component of the system is, in addition, the spectral double. It consists of two blue and white giant orbiting a common center of mass for 5,73 days. Both lights are superior to the Sun on the ground twenty times. Their luminosity is more significant than the same parameter of our star is about 80 000 times. Rotating, the two component partially Eclipse each other, leading to oscillations of glitter Mintake.


Some very interesting objects that surround Orion's belt. Constellation famous nebulae located in it. A little below the belt is M42. This emission nebula visible in the sky even to the naked eye. Such a visibility of the object was the result of light the four young stars located here in the form of a trapezoid. The Orion nebula is the abode of many interesting celestial bodies, including here, there are several brown dwarfs.

Dark stripe separated from M42 relatively small area. This is the nebula M43, where it found a large amount of ionized hydrogen. Here constantly there is a process of birth of new stars. The ideal period for observation of this object – winter.

Next to Alnitak is the Flame Nebula. A beautiful object resembling a fire or a torch is 3000 light-years distant from the Sun. Here also young stars are constantly born.

Thus, Orion's belt — the place where is a lot interesting both for professionals and for lovers of astronomy objects. A huge constellation today beckons with its beauty, attracts the eyes no less than it did in Antiquity. Thanks to improved equipment Orion has become for modern people a little closer and clearer. However, not all we know about the vastness of space in the constellation. Nebulae, stars and other space objects located on its territory, in no hurry to reveal its secrets.