Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Winter Friend

Last night I walked out on my deck, and looking east I found my winter friend rising above the horizon. Orion, I greet thee...

This deep field image, from the Hubble Space Telescope, is oriented as Orion appears when overhead, as opposed to the photo above as he appears when rising.

An Orion star map:

The Orion Nebula, consisting of Messier Objects 42 and 43 (M42 & M43) resides in the sword tip below Orions belt.

The Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33) sits just below Alnitak at the left end of Orion's belt.

Orion is the master of the winter skies. He lords over the heavens from late fall to early spring, with his hunting dog Sirius trailing at his feet.

The mythic tales of Orion go as far back as the Hittites, who flourished from the Second Millenium BC to around 1200 BC.

One story from this culture gives an interesting account of Orion's death. Here he is called Aqhat, and was a handsome and famous hunter. The Battle-Goddess Anat fell in love with Aqhat, but when he refused to lend her his bow, she sent another man to steal it. This chap bungled the job, and wound up killing Aqhat and dropping the bow into the sea. This is said to explain the astronomical fact that Orion and the Bow (an older version of the constellation) drops below the horizon for two months every spring.
Much More...


No comments:

Post a Comment