Orion’s Belt points to Sirius on September mornings

Sky chart showing Orion and Sirius with arrow from Belt to the star.
Look for the easy-to-see constellation Orion the Hunter 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 the Hunter 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.

Also, sometimes there are bright planets in the east before dawn. And those planets might outshine even Sirius. In fact, in September 2023, Venus is near Sirius and definitely outshines our brightest star. 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 to the morning sky in late July

Orion returned to 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.

Misty view of Orion and Sirius in deep blue sky, with clouds below and town lights on a shore.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | You can see Orion in the morning sky in September. Here it is before dawn in the western sky, as captured by Cecille Kennedy in Depoe Bay, Oregon, on November 13, 2021. She wrote: “Early dawn and I can’t believe that the stars are out. The ocean mist subdued their brilliance, still they shine brightly and the constellation Orion the Hunter appears bold and distinct. Can you see Sirius left of Orion, and Capella to the right?” Beautiful. Thank you, Cecille.

Bottom line: In September 2023, 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.

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September 13, 2023

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