The constellation Orion is a hotbed of star formation, from masses of colourful clouds.
I shot this portrait of Orion the Hunter a few nights ago in Australia where Orion stands upside down compared to our view from up north. But I’ve turned around the photo here to put him right side up with head at the top and feet at the bottom.
The three stars in a row in the middle are his famous Belt stars. Below shines the nebulas that outline his Sword, among them the Orion Nebula, the subject of an earlier post last week.
The giant arc is Barnard’s Loop, a bubble blown in space by the winds from hot new stars. The bubble around Orion’s head at top is a similar interstellar bubble. Most stars here are blue-white and hot, but the distinctively orange star is the red giant Betelgeuse, a good candidate for a supernova explosion.
Orion stands high in the sky at midnight these nights, summer here in Australia, but winter at home in Canada.
– Alan, December 19, 2012 / © 2012 Alan Dyer