- Recorder Online - http://www.berthoudrecorder.com -

Earthsky Tonight – Dec 27 2009, Bellatrix – Orion’s third brightest – means ‘Female Warrior’

Posted By Gary Wamsley On December 27, 2009 @ 8:36 am In Earth & Sky | Comments Disabled

Courtesy of EarthSky
A Clear Voice for Science
www.EarthSky.org


09dec27 430 Earthsky Tonight   Dec 27 2009, Bellatrix   Orions third brightest   means Female Warrior [1]
Orion in the night sky, December 27, 2009


The constellation Orion takes center stage this month and rightly so. With an inordinate number of bright stars, it is one of the most prominent constellations in the sky. Look for Orion in the east-southeastern sky from around 6 to 7 p.m.


A while ago, we talked about Orion’s two brightest stars [2], but the third-brightest star in Orion, Bellatrix, is often overlooked. According to Richard Hinckley Allen’s classic book, “Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning,” the Latin name Bellatrix means Female Warrior, which some find odd since the original Arabic title translates as the Conqueror. But we women understand. Bellatrix represents Orion’s left shoulder. Although it appears only as the 22nd brightest star in our heavens, in reality it is a hot, blue giant some 240 light-years [3] away.

Also, look for Saiph, which is the right knee counterpart to Rigel, the left knee in Orion. The four stars, Betelgeuse [4], Rigel [5], Bellatrix and Saiph form the familiar rectangle of Orion. Saiph is a blazing hot supergiant star 720 light years away.


Written by Larry Sessions, Deborah Byrd


Article printed from Recorder Online: http://www.berthoudrecorder.com

URL to article: http://www.berthoudrecorder.com/earthsky-tonight-dec-27-2009-bellatrix-orions-third-brightest-means-female-warrior/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.berthoudrecorder.com/2009/12/earthsky-tonight-dec-27-2009-bellatrix-orions-third-brightest-means-female-warrior/09dec27_430/

[2] two brightest stars: http://www.earthsky.org/tonighthome/2009-12-15/url

[3] light-years: http://www.earthsky.org/tonightpost/astronomy-essentials/how-far-is-a-light-year

[4] Betelgeuse: http://www.earthsky.org/tonightpost/brightest-stars/betelgeuse-will-explode-someday

[5] Rigel: http://www.earthsky.org/tonightpost/brightest-stars/blue-white-rigel-is-orions-brightest-star

Copyright © 2010 Berthoud Recorder. All rights reserved.