Earth Sky News for September 2nd: Orion the Hunter

Before dawn, Orion the Hunter

Mike wrote:

I noticed on your site that Orion returned to the predawn sky in late July. You called it the ‘ghost of the summer dawn.’ Due to cloudy skies and other conditions, I was not able to see it until August 6. When will Orion return to the evening sky?

Mike, Orion the Hunter is always behind the sun as seen from Earth in June. It comes back to the predawn sky every year in late July. By early September, Orion is rising in the wee hours and is well up in the southeast an hour before dawn, as shown on today’s chart.

Orion will soon be up by midnight, then 10 p.m. … and by December you’ll find it rising in early evening.

There’s nothing unusual about Orion’s shift from the predawn to the evening sky. This constellation is simply following the westward shift of all the stars, caused by Earth’s orbit around the sun. As we orbit the sun, our night sky points toward an ever-changing panorama of the Milky Way galaxy. Our orbit causes all the stars to rise approximately 4 minutes earlier each day.

Martin Marthadinata in East Java, Indonesia, caught this photo on September 11, 2016. It’s Orion rising behind the rooftops. Notice Orion’s Belt of 3 stars.

Bottom line: If you’re an early riser, look to the southeast and spot Orion the Hunter roaming the September predawn sky.

 

Published on EarthSky

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