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Star hopping from constellation Orion

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Tonight for April 9, 2014

Rebecca wrote:

What is star hopping? What does that mean?

Amateur astronomers use star hopping to go from stars and constellations they know … to ones they don’t know yet. First, look for noticeable patterns on the sky’s dome. One very easy pattern to find at this time of year is the constellation Orion the Hunter. You’ll find it descending in the west after sunset. Orion is easy to find because it contains a very noticeable pattern of three medium-bright stars in a short straight row. These stars represent Orion’s Belt.

If you can find Orion, you can use it to star hop to Sirius, the sky’s brightest star, in the constellation Canis Major. Orion and Sirius are dropping into the sun’s glare at this time of year, so be sure to look for them soon after the sun goes down.

And in April 2014, the constellation Orion serves as your guide to the planet Jupiter, the brightest starlike object in the April 2014 sky.

And in April 2014, the constellation Orion serves as your guide to the planet Jupiter, the brightest starlike object in the April 2014 sky.

And that’s how you come to know the constellations. You use what you’ve already learned to build outward to find new patterns.

A planisphere is virtually indispensable for beginning stargazers. Order your EarthSky planisphere today.

Get your kids interested in astronomy and the sky! Use EarthSky’s lunar calendar as a fun way to enjoy the moon phases throughout the year.