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

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1.1.4 Who was Orion?

An artist’s impression of the hunter Orion.
Figure 6 An artist’s impression of the hunter Orion.

In Greek mythology, Orion was a hunter, the son of Poseidon, god of the sea, and there are several variations of his story.

A common thread between the legends is that Orion made a rash boast that no creature could kill him and that his final adventure involved a giant scorpion.

In one version of this final adventure, Orion could not overcome the scorpion, so he jumped into the sea to escape. Following this he was shot through the head with an arrow fired by Artemis, goddess of the hunt. In sorrow at what she had done, Artemis placed Orion’s image among the stars.

A photograph of the constellation of Scorpio as seen in the night sky.
Figure 7 The constellation of Scorpio as seen in the night sky

The constellation of Scorpio

Zeus, the king of the gods, in admiration for the scorpion, placed its image among the stars, where it appears as the constellation Scorpio. This is mainly visible in the southern hemisphere and Orion is at the opposite side of the sky so they never appear in the night sky together!

Now you have seen what Orion looks like in the night sky, you’ll be able to use him as a marker. Look at the night sky, find Orion, and then look at the patterns of other stars which also appear in the sky. You’ll discover more about them next.