What is the Orion constellation?

Many constellations in the sky have a fascinating correlation with the mythologies of our civilization. Learning about these tales by looking at the wonderful-yet-mysterious-canvas certainly, takes the art of storytelling to a step further. So if you know someone who loves history or even the stories (well, who doesn’t like to be told stories?), plan a night of star gazing and engage them with some fascinating stories about the ancient mythologies. In this blog, we are going to speak about one of the most distinguished patterns in the night sky – the Orion constellation. According to the Greek mythology, Orion was the son of the Greek god Poseidon, who bestowed him with the ability to walk on water. He has been described as a giant, skilled hunter in Homer’s Iliad, who carried with him a huge bronze club. He was one of the most handsome men and truly a gifted huntsman. Being a gifted hunter, Orion had the opportunity to serve the King Oenopion, who was the ruler of the island of Chios. He was asked by the king to free the land of the frightening beasts, which were terrifying the populace. In his conquest, he happened to fall in love with Merope, daughter of the King (and also a star in the Taurus constellation). However, she didn’t return the feelings back, and on one unfortunate night, Orion tried to force himself on her. Angered by this devastating behavior, King Oenopion blinded the skilled hunter and banished him from the land. With his eyesight lost, he managed to reach Lemnos, where the god Hephaestus showed him some mercy and guided him to the sun god Helios, with the help of his trusted aide Cedalion. Helios restored Orion’s vision, after which the hunter went back to Chios to seek revenge. However, he was unsuccessful since the King went underground to escape his wrath. After this adventure, Orion went to the island of Crete, where he became a hunting mate for the goddess Artemis and her mother Leto. In the course of the hunt, he became so arrogant that he threatened to kill every beast and creature on the Earth. Enraged by this behavior, the goddess of Earth Gaia sent a giant scorpion of kill Orion and to defend her creatures on Earth. Orion’s mighty strength was useless against this beast and he eventually succumbed to death. Artemis and Leto asked Zeus to place him among the stars. Gaia too did her part and honored the Scorpion by placing him in the sky, right behind Orion, chasing him. This is actually the reason why the two constellations can be never seen together in the sky. Orion is constantly trying to escape his inevitable doom. In the sky during the winter season, Orion can be seen fighting a mighty Taurus, with the help of his two dogs, which can be seen in Canis Major and Canis Minor. At the same time, he also appears to be chasing a rabbit or a hare, which can be seen in the Lepus constellation. So there you go, the fascinating tale of Orion and his significance in the stars. The brightest star in the constellation is Rigel, which is 40,000 times brighter than the sun and emits 100,000 times the energy. The three stars which form a line through the middle of the constellation are known as Orion's Belt.If you follow an imaginary line down through Orion's Belt it will take you to the brightest star in the night sky, Sirius, follow the line up in the southern hemisphere. The constellation mainly consists of bright blue supergiant stars, the most notable exception being the red supergiant Betelgeuse which lies on Orion's shoulder. In the Southern hemisphere, Orion can be seen in the summer months, note that it will appear upside down. In the Northern hemisphere, the constellation can be seen from late autumn to early spring. Many beginners want to look for the Horsehead Nebula, surely one of the most photographed objects in the sky. Unfortunately, this is also one of the most difficult of all objects to observe visually, requiring a special hydrogen beta filter and an absolutely perfectly dark sky. Only a handful of very experienced observers has ever seen it.