Orion Constellation Worksheets

Download Orion Constellation Worksheets

Looking for the best way to teach students about Orion Constellation?

This premium worksheet bundle contains 10 activities to challenge your students and help them understand Orion Constellation.

Download Now

Edit Worksheets

Not ready to purchase a subscription yet? Click here to download a sample of this worksheet pack.

Resource Examples

Click any of the example images below to view a larger version.

Key Facts & Information

  • The constellation of Orion is probably the most prominent, and amongst the oldest constellations in the night sky, hosting numerous bright stars, nebulae, clusters, and more. The distinctive pattern of Orion is recognized in several cultures around the world, and thus many myths and legends are associated with it.
  • Among the earliest depictions of Orion is a prehistoric – Aurignacian – mammoth ivory carving found in a cave in the Ach valley in West Germany, in 1979. Archaeologists estimate that this carving is between 32,000 to 38,000 years old.
  • In ancient Egypt, the stars of Orion were regarded as a god, called Sah. Since Orion rises before Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, whose heliacal rising was the basis for the Solar Egyptian calendar, Sah was closely related to Sopdet, the goddess who personified Sirius.
  • The three pyramids on the Giza Plateau simulate the alignment of the three stars that form Orion’s Belt. The air shafts inside these pyramids point directly to the Orion constellation. However, these aren’t the only pyramids pointing towards Orion.
  • The constellation of Orion is easy to spot since it is among the brightest constellations.

Summary

  • The constellation of Orion is among the oldest recognized constellations in the world.
  • Among the earliest known depictions of Orion lies in a prehistoric Aurignacian mammoth ivory carving estimated to be between 32,000 to 38,000 years old.
  • Orion is the 26th largest constellation in the sky, stretching for around 594 square degrees.
  • The brightest star in Orion is Rigel – an Alpha Cygni variable blue star, which has a maximum magnitude of around 0.13.
  • Another famous bright star that resides in Orion, is the red supergiant Betelgeuse, which is generally the ninth-brightest star in the night sky.
  • Orion hosts numerous famous asterisms such as the Sword, Head, Club, Shield, and probably the oldest and most well-known, the Belt.
  • Orion belongs to the Orion family of constellations, along with Canis Major, Canis Minor, Lepus, and Monoceros.
  • A famous deep-sky object in Orion is the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, which comprises a large group of dark clouds, bright emission and reflection nebulae, H II regions, and young stars.

Notable Stars

  • The primary star, Rigel, is an Alpha Cygni variable star, having an apparent magnitude ranging from 0.05 to 0.18. Rigel is around 61,500 up to 363,000 times brighter than our Sun.
  • It is located at around 860 light-years away from us. Rigel has 7,000% of our Sun’s radius, and 2,100 % of our Sun’s mass. As time passes, Rigel will expand to an even greater size transcending into a red supergiant.
  • It may explode as a supernova one day. Rigel, along with Bellatrix, Betelgeuse, and Alnilam are the navigational stars of the Orion Constellation. Though Rigel is the brightest star in Orion, it is occasionally outshone by Betelgeuse.
  • Betelgeuse, designated as Alpha Orionis, is the second-brightest star in Orion. Betelgeuse is a red supergiant semi-regular variable star, with an apparent magnitude varying between +0.0 and +1.13. It has the widest range of varying magnitude out of any first-magnitude star, being the ninth-brightest star in the night sky.
  • Due to its size, Betelgeuse is cooler than our Sun, having average surface temperatures of around 3,500 K.
  • The constellation of Orion hosts numerous bright stars: Rigel, Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, Mintaka, Alnilam, Alnitak, Saiph and Meissa.
  • Bellatrix, designated as Gamma Orionis, is the third- brightest star in Orion. Bellatrix is a slightly variable star, with a variable apparent magnitude between 1.59 and 1.64. It varies in being the 27th and the 25th brightest star in the night sky.
  • Bellatrix is a blue star located at around 250 light-years away from us.  It has around 575% of our Sun’s radius, around 860% of its mass, and it is around 9.211 times brighter.
  • Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka are the three belt stars that form the Orion’s Belt, one of the numerous famous asterisms.
  • Mintaka, designated as Delta Orionis, is the seventh-brightest star in Orion, and the 73rd brightest star in the night sky. It is among the famous three belt stars that form Orion’s Belt.
  • Mintaka is actually a multiple star system, rather than a single star, however, the primary component, Mintaka A, is a blue giant star, which is around 190.000 times brighter than our  Sun. This star is located at around 1,200 light-years away.
  • Mintaka is the smallest and least massive star in Orion’s Belt.
  • Alnilam, designated as Epsilon Orionis, is the fourth-brightest star in Orion, and the 29th brightest star in the night sky. Alnilam is a bright blue supergiant star.
  • It is the biggest and most massive star of the asterism. Alnilam is an Alpha Cygni variable star, its brightness varies from magnitude 1.64 to -1.74. Alnilam is around 537,000 times brighter than our Sun, being more than 30 times bigger, and having around 4.000% of its mass.
  • Alnilam is located at around 1,975 light-years away from us. It illuminates a molecular cloud that surrounds it, NGC 1990. Alnilam is situated in the middle of the Orion’s Belt asterism.
  • Alnitak, designated as Zeta Orionis, is a triple star system. The primary star, Alnitak, is the fifth-brightest star in Orion, and the 31st brightest star in the night sky.
  • It is located at around 1,260 light-years away from us. Alnitak is a blue supergiant star with an apparent magnitude of 2.0.
  • Alnitak is 250,000 times brighter than our Sun, having around 33 solar masses, and a radius of around 20 times that of the Sun.  Alnitak is the second most massive, and the second-biggest star in Orion’s belt. It is also a fast-spinning star, having a rotational velocity of around 110 km / 68 mi per second.
  • For someone to easily find the Orion Constellation in the night sky, a trick is first to locate the Belt.
  • Saiph, designated as Kappa Orionis, is the sixth-brightest star in Orion, and one of the four stars that comprise Orion’s main quadrangle.
  • Saiph is a supergiant star slightly variable star of magnitude 2.09, varying by about 0.4 magnitudes. It is a supernova candidate that will explode in the near future.
  • Saiph, designated as Kappa Orionis, is the sixth-brightest star in Orion, and one of the four stars that comprise Orion’s main quadrangle.
  • Saiph has around 15.50 solar masses, 22.2 solar radii, and it is 56,881 times brighter than our Sun. Saiph is hotter than Rigel, having average surface temperatures of around 26,500 K. It is located at around 650 light-years away from us.
  • The ultraviolet energy radiating from Meissa is creating the Sh2-264 H II region in the neighboring volume of space.
  • Meissa, designated as Lambda Orionis, is the eighth-brightest star in Orion, having an apparent magnitude of 3.33. Meissa is a multiple star system located at around 1,100 light-years away from us.
  • The primary star, Meissa, is a giant star which is 165,000 times brighter than our Sun. It has around 27.9 solar masses and around 10.0 solar radii
  • This star is the dominant member of a 5-million-year-old star- forming region known as the Collinder 69 cluster.

Orion Asterisms

  • The famous asterisms of Orion are the Belt, Sword, Head, Club, and Shield.
  • Orion’s Sword contains the Orion Nebula, the Messier 43 nebula, the Running Man Nebula, and the stars Theta Orionis, Iota Orionis, and 42 Orionis.
  • Orion’s Head comprises three stars. The apex is marked by Meissa – Lambda Orionis, and Phi-1, and Phi-2 make up the base.
  • Orion’s Club stretches north from Betelgeuse. Mu Orionis marks the elbow, Nu and Xi mark the handle of the club, and Chi1 and Chi2 mark the end of the club. East of Chi1 is the Mira-type variable red giant star – U Orionis.
  • Orion’s Shield comprises six stars, all of them are situated west from Bellatrix. The six stars are designated as Pi Orionis – Pi1, P2, P3, P4, P5, and P6 make up Orion’s Shield asterism.
  • Another famous asterism is the distinctive hourglass-shaped asterism, formed by Orion’s seven brightest stars. Four stars, Rigel, Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, and Saiph, form a large roughly rectangular shape, in the center of which lie the three stars of Orion’s Belt – Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka.