29 December 2016 | Orion’s Belt & Sword

Orions Belt

Image credit & copyright: Dominique Dierick | Click image to enlarge

Image Data

  • Camera: Nikon D810a
  • Optics: Takahashi FS60C
  • Filter: Optolong CLS filter
  • Exposure: 210 minutes total exposure at ISO400

Orion’s Belt or the Belt of Orion, also known as the Three Kings or Three Sisters, is an asterism in the constellation Orion. It consists of the three bright stars Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka.

Looking for Orion’s Belt in the night sky is the easiest way to locate Orion in the sky. The stars are more or less evenly spaced in a straight line, and so can be visualized as the belt of the hunter’s clothing. They are best visible in the early night sky during the Northern Winter/Southern Summer, in particular the month of January at around 9.00 pm.

Orion’s Sword is an astronomical asterism in the constellation Orion. It comprises three stars (c, Theta, and Iota Orionis) under Orion’s Belt.  It points in a southerly direction, and resembles distantly a sword. M42, the Orion Nebula is located in its center.

Cicero and Germanicus the translators of Aratus’s Phaenomena, expressed it as ensis, Latin for “sword”. Also, Arabic astronomers called it Saif al Jabbār, the Sword of the Giant. In China, It was called 伐, Punishment, and subordinated to Sieu of Shen (參). In Japan, It is called Ko-mitsu-boshi (小三星), “Little Three Stars”. In Finland, it is called Kalevanmiekka (Kaleva‘s sword).


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