Orion Constellation Myths and Facts

Orion: The Hunter

Pronunciation: oh-RYE-un
Orion, The Hunter
Orion as depicted by Johann Bayer in his Uranometria (1603). Source image provided by www.RareMaps.com — Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc.
Orion Constellation Profile
Abbreviation: Ori Genitive: Orionis
Origin: Ancient Location: Celestial Equator
Best View (North): Winter Best View (South):
Bordering Constellations: Taurus, Eridanus, Lepus, Monoceros, Gemini

The Myth Behind the Constellation Orion

Orion, The Hunter, was a giant renowned for his hunting skill.  But he was also boastful, a trait that is sure to get you in trouble with the gods.  Orion bragged that there was no beast that could kill him.  Upon hearing this Hera sent a little scorpion (see Scorpius) to sting him.  Orion smashed the scorpion but it was too late; it had fatally stung him.  Both were placed in the stars, on opposite sides of the sky, so they are never in the heavens at the same time.

Orion Constellation Points of Interest

Interesting Objects in the Constellation Orion
Name Messier NGC Type Visibility
Orion Nebula M42 NGC 1976 Nebula Naked-Eye
De Mairan’s Nebula M43 NGC 1982 Nebula Binoculars
M78 NGC 2068 Diffuse Nebula Binoculars

Bright Stars in Orion

These are the stars in Orion with a minimum magnitude of 3.0.
Name Bayer Name Magnitude Color Luminosity Distance
Rigel Beta Orionis .18 Blue 51,194 suns 773 ly
Betelgeuse Alpha Orionis 0.42 Red 100,000 suns 640 ly
Bellatrix Gamma Orionis 1.64 Blue-White 6,003 suns 243 ly
Alnilam Epsilon Orionis 1.68 Blue 112,435 suns 1359 ly
Alnitak Zeta Orionis 1.71 Blue 47,480 suns 826 ly
Saiph Kappa Orionis 2.07 Blue-White 19,159 suns 725 ly
Mintaka Delta Orionis 2.25 Blue 27,709 suns 919 ly
Hatsya Iota Orionis 2.75 Blue 53,665 suns 1325 ly