Wondering about the colorful Orion Nebula in the sky throughout March

Orion shines down on us all winter, and is the brightest and most beautiful of all the constellations.

The great hunter or celestial warrior dominates our winter evening sky, the most brilliant of the constellations and is visible from every inhabited part of the earth. This season, Orion can easily be found standing high in the southern sky in the evening and doesn’t fully set until around 1:30am. Throughout March, the hunter will begin to move west. Three bright stars in a diagonal line in the center of a bright rectangle decorate Orion’s Belt pointing north to the bright orange star Aldebaran of Taurus, and south to the Dog Star Sirius.

Within Orion we find two huge stars, Rigel and Betelgeuse, apparently in two completely different periods of a star’s existence. In Rigel (“the giant’s left leg”) we find a star that is apparently reaching the peak of its life. Betelgeuse (“The Armpit of the Giant”) in contrast, shines with a cool, dull red hue; an irregularly pulsating supergiant star nearing the end of its life and as such expanding and contracting spasmodically.

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