This is probably one of my favorite constellations. It can be seen around the world in the night sky, but is only visible for about half the year. I can’t see it in the summer at all.
Orion rises in the eastern sky and moves across to set in the west every evening between late October and early April where I currently live. In April, it starts to fade away. It’s actually there, but in the sky during the daylight hours, as are other stars, and can’t be seen because it isn’t dark enough.
The belt stars are named Alnilam, Mintaka and Alnitak. Betelgeuse is the second brightest star in Orion and forms his right shoulder. Belletrix is the star at the hunter’s left shoulder. All of the main stars in Orion are bright young blue giants with the exception of Betelgeuse, which is a red giant. You should be able to see the difference with the naked eye.
All of the stars in Orion are about 243 to 1359 light-years away except the Orion nebula that hangs from Orion’s belt, which is actually dust, hydrogen, and helium and other ionized gases and not a star. The Orion nebula is 1600 light-years away. A light-year is the distance light travels in a single year, about 6 trillion miles (or 10 trillion kilometers.)
My constellation of Gemini sits just above and to the left of Orion, so it’s always easy to find. Can you find your constellation in the night sky?