One of the best known constellations in the whole sky, Orion's figure is defined by seven bright stars, six of which are blue giants, and the seventh is a red supergiant, one of the largest stars known. It was the ancient Babylonians who first identified it with the figure of a hunter, their god Bel, another name for the founder of Babylon, the hunter Nimrod. The majestic profile of this constellation has been perceived as a hunter ever since. The Egyptians recognized the group as their king and god Osiris, but originally the constellation was named after Horus and depicted with him in a boat, sailing the celestial river. The Greeks made Orion famous, indeed endowing the group with its familiar name. Orion was a mighty man, a hunter who fell in love with the goddess Artemis, but was killed by an arrow from her bow when she was duped into hitting a target that floated on the sea, the target turned out to be Orion taking a swim, but the tragedy ended happily as Orion was placed in the sky. The Celts knew him as Cernunnos.

Notable Objects

Messier 42 and Messier 43, the great Orion nebula; Messier 78 a reflection nebula and Collinder 70 a star cluster winding around the three stars of the belt