greets the new year
with open arms
One thing I love about writing, is that it forces me to learn. I’m limited to my phone camera at the moment so was looking for a copyright-free photo to put alongside this piece, and I’ve ended up discovering lots of things I probably should have known about Orion, but didn’t.
For a start, although I always picture the Hunter as a figure doing physical jerks – the four main stars that box in his belt and sword seem to me to be his hands and feet, splayed wide – most images show the top two as his shoulders. There are further stars in the constellation, up to the left, and out to the right, which are shown as his outstretched arms, and he is often depicted wielding a club and with his shield raised against Taurus the bull. Behind him, and presumably suitably grateful for the protection, is Gemini.
And then there’s that reddish star which is his right shoulder (i.e. it’s on the left as you look at the hunter with his sword hanging down from his belt.) That’s Betelgeuse, a red supergiant. I’m pretty sure I first heard of it when I heard the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Ford Prefect was “from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse and not from Guildford as he usually claimed.” I wonder how I’d have pronounced the name if I’d read it before I heard the radio series.
And one other thing I was reminded of while I roamed the web was just how complex even the simplest copyright statements are nowadays. So, since I couldn’t find a picture that was quite what I was looking for anyway, I’ll manage without.