Orion’s Belt points to dazzling Sirius

It’s one of the neatest tricks in all the heavens … Orion’s Belt points to Sirius in the constellation Canis Major the Greater Dog. Sirius is the brightest star in the nighttime sky. It’s up before dawn now but will be shifting into the evening sky as the months pass. Orion is found in the predawn morning sky every September.

Sirius is Dog Star and brightest star

Yes, you can find Orion. If you go outside and look south to southeast before dawn now, you’ll notice Orion’s Belt, which consists of a short, straight row of medium-bright stars. Just draw a line through Orion’s Belt and extend that line toward the horizon. You’ll easily spot Sirius, the sky’s brightest star.

Sirius is in the constellation Canis Major the Greater Dog. It’s often called the Dog Star.

Three planets (Venus, Mars and Jupiter) shine more brilliantly than Sirius but it’s not likely that you’ll mistake any planet for Sirius in the September 2018 morning sky. At northerly latitudes, all these planets set before Sirius even rises. In the Southern Hemisphere, Mars sets after Sirius rises, but the two are in completely different places on the sky’s dome. Once again, use Orion’s Belt to locate Sirius in the southeast sky.

Orion, Sirius, Venus and more as seen on August 30, 2017, by Tom Wildoner. He took the photo from the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, but these stars and Venus can be seen from around the world now, in the direction of sunrise before the sun comes up. Read more about this photo.

Bottom line: In September 2018, you’ll find the constellation Orion, whose three Belt stars make a short, straight row in the southeast before dawn. Orion’s Belt points to Sirius, the brightest star of the nighttime sky.

Fastest sunsets of the year around equinox time

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Deborah Byrd