Courtesy of EarthSky
A Clear Voice for Science
Rebecca, amateur astronomers use star hopping to go from stars and constellations they know … to ones they don’t know yet. First, look for noticeable patterns on the sky’s dome. One very easy pattern to find at this time of year is the constellation Orion the Hunter. You will find it descending in the west after sunset. Orion is easy to find because it contains a very noticeable pattern of three medium-bright stars in a short straight row. These stars represent Orion’s Belt.
If you can find Orion, you can use it to “star hop” to Sirius, the sky’s brightest star, in the constellation Canis Major. Orion and Sirius are dropping into the sun’s glare at this time of year, so be sure to look for them soon after the sun goes down.
That is how you come to know the constellations. You use what you have already learned to “build” outward to find new patterns.
Written by Deborah Byrd