Orion

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January 25, 2014 by allsho

Returning after a long time (time that’s been used to write my doctoral thesis), here’s some stars shining out of my toilet’s window.

Well, sorry. Poetry’s gone when I mentioned the toilet, huh?

Ok, out of my room’s window, if you prefer.

That’s Orion.

Ok, I know pretty well that constellations do not exist. I mean, they only exist in our heads (which, I might say, does make them a bit less real): they are just pictures we see in the sky because of where the Earth is and where the stars are, so far from us, at different distances, but also from each other that they have almost nothing in common.

Anyway, that’s Orion. That waterclock-shaped constellation just right of the purplish round light mark. There are seven main stars: Betelgeuse (orange-looking top left of the waterclock, that is left shoulder of the warrior), Rigel (I’d say the brightest blueish bottom right, right knee), Bellatrix (HP lover? there’s Sirius too, hidden behind the hill, in another constellation, while Regulus is way too far) Bellatrix blueish top right, right shoulder, Saiph blueish bottom left, i.e. left knee, and then the belt: Mintaka, Alnilam and Alnitaka vertically top to bottom; nearby there’s Orion’s sword, made of three small dots, of which two are nebulae. There’s the head too, hardly visible, Meissa, well, where it ought to be, just above the shoulders and in the middle.

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Some other stars are visible. The most famous among them is the large white spot closest to the top left corner of the picture: if I am not mistaken that one should be Castor, and Pollux hidden in the persimmon tree, looking like a kaki because it’s orange; and they are the mythological Gemini.

Aldebaran, from Taurus, was also visible, but it got out of the picture (over the branch on top): you know how it is with bulls.

All this from my toilet… ops, room’s window.

And I also took this other picture, completely out of focus, horrible, but it shows well the different luminosity (magnitude) of the constellation’s stars, and it explains why astronomers call Betelgeuse a red supergiant, and Rigel (the seventh brightest in the sky) and the others blue supergiants or blue giants.

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