Earth and the Moon

Stargazing Basics

What are some useful star patterns to know when stargazing in the winter and spring?

The constellation Orion the Hunter is one of the most recognizable constellations in the night sky. During the winter and spring in the northern hemisphere, it can be readily identified by a short “belt” of three bright stars, two stars to the north that mark Orion’s shoulders, and two stars to the south that mark Orion’s knees. To Orion’s upper right is Taurus (the Bull), which is marked by a large “V” marking the eye and horns of Taurus. To Orion’s lower left is Canis Major (the Big Dog), which contains Sirius (the Dog Star)—the brightest star in the night sky

One of the most recognizable constellations is Orion the Hunter. (Courtesy of Howard McCallon)


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