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In the night sky: Orion
In the night sky: Orion

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1.1.1 Meeting Orion

So, what is Orion? Very simply, it is a pattern of stars in the sky that, hundreds of years ago, was interpreted to look like a hunter. You’ll most probably know what it looks like as it’s a familiar feature of the night sky in both the northern and southern hemispheres. You’ll find out more about the mythology behind Orion later in the course.

A photograph of the night sky with Orion circled.
Figure 3 Orion.

Have a look at the picture of Orion in Figure 3. If you look closely at the pattern of stars, you can see that they are not all the same colour. Inside the circle you can see that there is a bright fuzzy pinkish patch in between two of the stars. The bright fuzzy patch is called a nebula, and is a place where new stars are created. The different colours of the stars indicate that they are of different temperatures. So, within Orion, you can see a whole variety of different star types, which you’ll discover more about over the next four weeks.

Next, you’ll find out where Orion is in the night sky.