science

Starwatch: Orion guides the way to Auriga, the charioteer


Starwatch chart Monday 30 November featuring Orion and Auriga

This week, use one of the most prominent winter constellations to find one of the fainter ones. The constellation we are searching for is Auriga, the charioteer. It is an ancient constellation, having been among the 48 listed by Ptolemy in the second century AD. The easiest way to find Auriga at this time of year from the northern hemisphere is to locate Orion, the hunter.

The chart shows the view looking due south at 00:00GMT this week. Orion will be standing upright, almost straddling the north-south meridian. Auriga with then appear high in the sky, above Orion – leapfrogging Taurus, the bull. The brightest star in Auriga is Capella. Just 43 light years away, it is a yellow giant that clocks in as the sixth-brightest star in the sky. Having located Capella, take your time and star-hop around the constellation’s outline.

From the southern hemisphere, Auriga appears low in the north about midnight and upside down, with Taurus and Orion both higher in the sky.



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