Night Sky Handbookpast & present

Night Sky Handbook: Orion

by Maxwell Tielman


We talk about spaces large and small on this site all the time, from powder rooms to living rooms and everywhere in between. In recent days, however—especially since last week’s big Big Bang news—we’ve been enamored with an altogether different kind of space—outer space! From oversized star charts to fabulous DIY projects like Jessica Marquez’s constellation table runner, we can’t get enough! As a nod to our newfound space infatuation (and to get y’all prepped for the stargazing days of summer), we’re going to be sharing some of our favorite constellations with you this month, starting with the lovely Orion. Happy exploring! —Max

Constellation: Orion

Main Stars: Betelgeuse, Rigel, Bellatrix, Mintaka, Alnilam, Alnitak, Saiph

Most Visible: January-March

Symbolism: The name Orion is derived from the mythological Greek hunter Orion.

Suggested For You


  • Not only is it the easiest to find, but it is host to probably the only nebula you can (just barely) make out with the naked eye if you are lucky enough to have dark enough skies.

  • I look forward to learning some astronomy in my blog feed! I love orion, probably because I have always been able to find it!

  • Orion is one of the first constellations I teach my kids. It’s easy to find, and sometimes, it’s just so HUGE in the sky. Love this!

  • Love this! The graphic is gorgeous too.

    The star map would be a great add, and perhaps a bit more on the mythology/history/what image we’re supposed to see.

  • Cool! Thanks Max. My daughter is 6 and really into astronomy and constellations. She’s named her after Ursa Minor. Looking forward to sharing these with her :)

  • Some time ago I found a book to teach astronomy to kids published in the 19th. Century that depicts 4 prints for each month of the year and shows how the night sky is seen during that month if you look at the North, South, East and West. It was produced in the UK and it shows the Northern sky. I recovered the prints from the book (that was in bad shape) and they are here: http://tiny.cc/b9qddx

  • Max — We love this series and are so delighted to see it running! We began offering an oversized star chart back in 2011 with our Constellation Explorer series — each print measures a dramatic 3 ft x 3 ft. Put it under the headboard and sleep under the stars! http://tinyurl.com/kmetl3f

  • Max – can you tell me where I can find prints of the graphics in this series? I am seriously loving them and need to find for my grandbabies Leo and Orion. Thanks!

    • Sea— there are no prints available for these graphics at the PRESENT time, but there are plans in the works to make them available soon! Keep you eyes peeled for updates! :)

  • It was so wonderful to see the Leo graphic from the Night Sky Handbook used in the DS Courier this week.

    Are the prints from the handbook available for purchase yet? Last June Maxwell said there were plans in the works to make them available soon. I passionately want them for my grandsons Leo and Orion.

    Thanks so much!