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Wonder at the colorful Orion nebula in the southwestern sky throughout March

Shining down upon us all winter long, Orion is the brightest and grandest of all the constellations. 

Dominating our winter evening skies is the Great Hunter or Celestial Warrior the most brilliant of the constellations and visible from every inhabited part of the Earth. This season, Orion can readily be found standing high in the southern sky at nightfall and doesn’t completely set until around 1:30 a.m. Throughout March, the Hunter will begin to move westward. Three bright stars in a diagonal line in the middle of a bright rectangle decorate Orion’s belt which points northward to the bright orange star Aldebaran of Taurus, and southward to the Dog Star, Sirius.

Within Orion we find two immense stars, Rigel and Betelgeuse, apparently at two entirely different periods in a star’s existence. In Rigel (the “Left Leg of the Giant”), we find a star apparently reaching the prime of its life. Betelgeuse (“The Armpit of the Giant”) in contrast, shines with a cool, dull ruddy hue; an irregular pulsating supergiant star, nearing the end of its life and as such it expands and contracts spasmodically. 

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