24 November 2017

Orion (click for more info)

Click photo to enlarge.
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If you go outside tonight and look into the southeastern sky, you will see the constellation Orion, the Hunter. Orion is easy to spot because of the three equally bright, equally spaced stars that form his belt. The reddish star that forms his right shoulder is Betelgeuse (beetle-juice), which is 520 light years away. The light that you see from Betelgeuse left in 1494, two years after Christopher Columbus’ first voyage. It is 14,000 times brighter than our sun. If Betelgeuse were placed in the center of our Solar System, it would extend beyond the orbit of Jupiter. The brilliant white star that represents Orion’s left foot is Rigel, which is 900 light years away; William the Conqueror was busy establishing earldoms along the Anglo-Welsh borders when tonight’s light left Rigel.

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