Winter Is Finding Orion’s Belt

What is winter?  There’s the usual of course – snow, cold & ice; hot tea & hot soup; turning on the gas fire at night.

But one thing that signifies winter to me above everything else is the return of Orion in the night sky.

As much as I love the night sky, I don’t recognize many of the constellations.  To me, they look like a bunch of lines and squiggles of make-believe figures.  But years ago, my favorite boy toy showed me how to find Orion’s Belt in the winter sky.

Orion in the early evening
Orion in the early evening

I took the above picture earlier this week, as I waited for my boy toy to finish making supper for us.  It was a fairly mild night and I stood in the shadows in front of the house, oblivious to neighbor’s driving by as I was trying to figure out what settings to use.  Although this setting shows the stars, they show up as lines instead of twinkles.  In other words, my settings were so long that the stars shifted enough for my camera to record it.

See the belt?
See the belt?

I always find Orion’s Belt because the stars are nearly a perfect line.  I don’t find any other stars to line up so cleanly in the night sky.  Once you see the belt, it’s easy to see the rest of Orion.

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See the arms and legs?

I took several different pictures that night, including the moon.  As I said, I’m not very knowledgeable about the night sky, but I did notice this rather bright star by the moon.  On  photo, it looks like a big old dust speck.

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I heard on the radio that a few hours after I took this, Jupiter passed so close to the moon that they appeared to be touching.  On March 17, they will again appear to be touching and then Jupiter will not be so close to the moon again until the year 2026.

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Cool, eh?

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Oak tree in the backyard after it snowed

Of course, winter is not just seeing Orion’s Belt.  It’s also the pale sunrises that occur late enough for me to photograph before going to work.  The winter sky is so pale – watery blues, pinks & oranges.  Still, it has a beauty of its own, especially after a snowfall.


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I am a backyard adventurer, philosopher and observer, recording my life in journals and photographs. Visit my blog at

27 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Cool and awesome indeed! Lately, I haven’t paid attention of what the night sky looks like being a night worker bee. As a kid, I used to gaze at them and watch the stars. Sometimes I would even see a falling star and make a wish. Perhaps it’s not to late to that again. Great post!

  2. Cool! Great job capturing the moon. I’m still working on learning how to shoot a good moon photo. I think the key is the lens. And I don’t think I have they right lens. :)

    • The lens is certainly important, but more important is a good tripod. This actually took me several tries – my first few were way blown out (i.e., overly light) and I had to keep decreasing the time.

  3. When I was 15, I was dating a 17-year-old who belonged to the same Methodist Youth Fellowship. We were walking home from a meeting one cold, clear night, and he presented the middle star of Orion’s Belt to me as a gift. I haven’t thought of this in 35 years — thanks for the happy memory!

  4. Oh my gosh – what great photos! And to think that is Jupiter – very cool. We are star gazers all year long and Orion is one of my favorites too. Beautiful pic of the oak tree in snow – the sky is just gorgeous!. Still no winter weather in our neck of the woods – sure could use some rain! K

    • Thanks for stopping by Lizzie! I’m really behind reading everyone else’s blogs, so I haven’t seen what you’re posting lately. What I saw in my E-mail looked really good though.

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