Looking up on a clear Winter's night

by - 7:26 PM

By Johannes Hevelius (28 January 1611 – 28 January 1687)  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
For a creative person I’m very bad at identifying constellations in the night sky.  Most of them look like the Big Dipper to me and then, when I realize it’s not, then it must be, hmm,  let’s see… long pause… the Little Dipper?

Thankfully I have a patient son for a teacher.

I squinted into the night sky as he pointed out the three most important stars in the constellation.

“See, that’s the belt”  the teacher says to the student, as he pointed out the three bright stars that form Orion’s belt.

“Oh, yeah okay, WOW!”  I said.

And, I really was “wowed”.

“See here, that’s his shield,” as his finger trailed, curving up and down along a path of much smaller and dimmer stars.

And, I could see it, and I think I could find it again if there were ever a pop quiz.


I first noticed the 3 stars of Orions belt and then my
son taught me how to see the other parts of Orion.  Photo: unknown
Enlarge the photo and look at Orions sword so can you locate
his Nebula next time you are stargazing.  Source: Hubblesite.org
Awesome view of Orion's Nebula which sits south of his belt
and is considered to be the brightest of Nebulae and can be
see with your little old naked eye!  It appears fuzzy if you are
just looking up but if you use binoculars or telescope you
maybe able to see some of these colors.  
Photo: NASA, ESA, Space Telescope Science Institute, Hubble Space Telescope Orion Treasury Project Team, via Wikimedia Commons

Then we laughed about a time of complete role reversal, he was so much younger than now, when he came into the house and proclaimed that there was a UFO in the sky.   Upon seeing what he was excited about I pulled the telescope out and we took turns peering into it so I could point out four moons and that it was Jupiter he was really looking at.

Reversing back our roles, my son pointed out that once you find Orion the Hunter then Taurus is right there.

And as I looked, this time it was easier and there was Taurus, I was “wowed” once more.

Spend some time looking up this month, let yourself be “wowed” by what you might find.  Here's a song to rattle around in your head while your looking up listen...

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