Glossary term: Orion

Description: Orion is an easily recognizeable constellation near the celestial equator. In the Northern hemisphere, it is a prominent Winter constellation; in the Southern hemisphere, a prominent Summer constellation. In Greek myth, Orion was a hunter, and the constellation's main stars are typically interpreted as representing Orion's shoulders, his belt, the sword hanging from his belt, and his two feet. Most of those stars are blue giants or supergiants, that is, particularly bright blueish stars in the later stages of stellar life. The left shoulder star, Betelgeuze, is a red supergiant, that is, a very bright red star in the final stage of its life. Its reddish colour can readily be seen in the night sky. Orion's sword contains the Orion nebula. Seen with the naked eye, it is a whitish smudge. Astronomical telescopes have shown it to be a bright red cloud of hydrogen gas where new stars are currently being born.

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The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".