Orion’s Belt points to Sirius on September mornings

Sky chart showing Orion's Belt pointing to Sirius
Look for the easy-to-see constellation Orion in the predawn sky in September. Draw an imaginary line between the 3 stars in Orion’s Belt. That line will point to Sirius, the sky’s brightest star.

Orion’s Belt points to Sirius

It’s one of the neatest tricks in all the heavens: Orion’s Belt points to Sirius, the sky’s brightest star. On September mornings, you’ll find both Orion and the very bright star Sirius in the eastern part of the sky before dawn. They’ll be shifting into the evening sky as the months pass. Identify them now, and enjoy them for months to come.

Although it’s not the case in 2021, sometimes there are bright planets in the east before dawn. And those planets might outshine even Sirius. What’s more, sometimes there are bright planets in the evening sky in northern winter, when Orion and Sirius shine brightly. And those planets, too, might be brighter than the sky’s brightest star. In those cases, how can you be sure the object you’re looking at is Sirius? The constellation Orion is your ticket. No matter where you are, no matter what time of year it is, Orion’s Belt always points to Sirius.

Orion returned the sky before dawn in late July and early August. In September, you can easily find this large constellation before sunup. Just look in the eastern part of the sky. You’ll easily notice Orion’s Belt, which consists of a short, straight row of three medium-bright stars.

To find Sirius, draw a line through Orion’s Belt and extend that line toward the horizon. There, you’ll spot Sirius, the sky’s brightest star.

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

Read more: Sirius is Dog Star and brightest star

Orion and Sirius in foggy sky above an old two-story frame buildings with glowing red windows.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Garth Battista caught Orion and bright Sirius – the bright star on the far left of the photo – through a fog on September 26, 2020. He was at Manhattan Country School Farm (which glows red from emergency exit signs, Garth said) in the Catskill Mountains, Roxbury, New York. Thank you, Garth!

Bottom line: In September 2021, 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.

Help support EarthSky! Check out the EarthSky store for fun astronomy gifts and tools for all ages!

September 7, 2021

Like what you read?
Subscribe and receive daily news delivered to your inbox.

Your email address will only be used for EarthSky content. Privacy Policy
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

More from 

Deborah Byrd

View All