Exploring Orion, Episode 1

February 1, 2018
Orion Nebula Small DR

The Orion Nebula

David Rankin

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The Summer Solstice is Friday. Get ready!
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This week, we have a guest astrophotographer from Southern Utah, David Rankin, with a special interest in exploring the night sky via long-exposure digital photography …

The camera is able to capture space in a way that our eyes can not. Let’s explore what objects lie just beyond the reach of the naked eye during any given season.

As the colder months rush in, the constellation Orion starts to work its way up high into the southern sky. The giant hunter in Greek mythology makes his debut every fall appearing earlier and earlier as we grind further into the winter season. Orion is one of those easy, you-don’t-need-a-degree-in-astrophysics-to-spot constellations. Every star shines bright, clearly outlining the familiar shape that the Greeks were quick to mythologize those many years ago. You can clearly make it out in the photograph below.

Orion and a Geminid Meteor
Constellation of Orion (Clik to Enlarge)
Credit: astrophotographer David Rankin
Technical mumbo jumbo: Shot with a Canon Rebel XSi, 18–55mm lens; single 61-second exposure, ISO 1600

When you see Orion high in the sky, there are a few things you know. You know that it is cold, as if that weren’t obvious enough. The arrival of Orion brings to mind family gatherings, crappy winter driving, good food, good drink, snow, failed resolutions, and many more things. What does the annual return of this constellation symbolize for you?

Orion is an astronomical hodgepodge of bright stars, nebulae, and amazing stories. Let’s dismantle this mysterious constellation, exploring each part like a mad scientist suffering from an acute sense of humor and the ability to interpret space in a fun way. Stay tuned for some breathtaking photographs and great stories from deep within the universe.

What’s next?

Episode 2 explore a hidden marvel made from interstellar dust and bent light. See a witch in the stars!

About This Blog

Welcome to “This Week’s Amazing Sky,” the Almanac’s hub for everything stargazing and astronomy. Bob Berman, longtime and famous astronomer for The Old Farmer’s Almanac, will help bring alive the wonders of our universe. From the beautiful stars and planets to magical auroras and eclipses, he covers everything under the Sun (and Moon)! Bob, the world’s mostly widely read astronomer, also has a new weekly podcast, Astounding Universe

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