The Ancient Hunter
Product: The Ancient Hunter
Family Member: Constellations
Product Code: Cst-640
- Orion in the night sky
- Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes combined forces to show the baby stars being developed within the Orion Nebula. The green is hydrogen and sulphur (Hubble). the red and orange wisps are carbon rick molecules (Spitzer). The orange and yellow dots are baby stars (Spitzer). The green and blue spots are stars further and closer to us (Hubble).
- Interstellar dust clouds within the constellation of Orion
All Credit NASA. Public domain.
Orion is named after the Greek mythological hunter. There are a few versions to Orions story, but one of the most common ones has Orion, as a mythological being, announcing to everyone that he was the greatest hunter in the whole entire world. Hera, the wife of Zeus, did not take favourably to this and had a scorpion kill him and Zeus then placed orion up into the sky as consolation.
Orion the stars, have a different story to tell. The brightest part is the belt and is made up of three main stars – Alnilam, Mintaka and Alnitak. Betelgeuse (a very cool name for a star) is the second biggest star and makes the right shoulder of the hunter. Rigel is the left foot and is the brightest star within the constellation.
Cool facts about Betelgeuse
Of the stars within Orion, Betelgeuse is probably the most famous because it is a red supergiant star. Here are some of its amazing features:
640 light years from Earth
Its radius is 1,000 times larger than our Sun
Betelgeuse is old – about 7,300,000 years
Supernova – being a red supergiant star, means that it is coming towards the end of its life. when this happens, it is so large that it will explode as what scientists refer to as a supernova. It will then go into its final stage as a neutron star and only have a radius of approximately 10km. Scientists estimate that this will happen in the next million years.
Photo: Hubble telescope of Betelgeuse, NASA, Public domain