Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

Starwatch: the brightness of the Winter Hexagon

Starwatch: the brightness of the Winter Hexagon

Not all star patterns are called constellations. Strictly speaking, constellations are the areas of the sky that contain familiar patterns – such as Taurus, the bull, or Orion, the hunter.

A group of patterns known as asterisms are not necessarily associated with constellations. During the winter months in the northern hemisphere, one notable asterism is referred to as the Winter Hexagon or Winter Circle. It is made up of bright stars from six different constellations, highlighted in yellow on the chart.

One way to navigate the winter hexagon is to begin at Orion and go in a counterclockwise direction. Start by moving up from Rigel to Aldebaran in Taurus. Then, go over to Capella in Auriga. Next, descend to Pollux in Gemini. The lower half of the hexagon includes Procyon in Canis Minor and Sirius in Canis Major. Finally, return to Rigel.

At 8pm GMT on 29 January, the chart displays the perspective from London facing south. However, from the southern hemisphere, the orientation is inverted and visible in the northern sky.

Source: theguardian.com