Orion's belt rising over the lights of Coonabarabran
AAO image reference MISC 12.     « Previous || Next »

Orion's belt rising over the lights of Coonabarabran
Mouseover to see Orion and Sirius.
Image and text © 1990-2002, Australian Astronomical Observatory, Photograph by David Malin.


From Siding Spring Mountain there is a clear view to the eastern horizon, directly over the small town of Coonabarabran about 26 km from the telescopes. Here we see the three distinctive trails of Orion's belt rising above the town -- roll your mouse over the image to see the position of the stars. The rightmost star of the line of three is Minkata, and it is within a degree of the celestial equator. The point on the horizon where it rises is very close to due east and similarly its setting point is almost exactly due west.

Minkata has long been an important navigation star, and its trail is a straight line, while either side of Orion's belt, towards the celestial poles, the star trails become increasingly curved. If you repeated the star trail exposure while pointing due south (or north in the northern hemisphere), the curves would become segments of circles, as in the startrail photograph here.

Roll your mouse over the image to see the position of the main stars in Orion and Sirius. These are synthetic 'stars' for illustrative purposes only, but the colours are reasonably representative. The lesser stars of Orion's sword-handle are also indicated and the middle, pinkish blob is the Orion nebula. More information on star trail photography is here.

More star-trail images
AAT 5.     Star trails southwest of the AAT dome
AAT 6.     Star trails around the south celestial pole
MISC 5.   Dawn and evening twilights reflected in the AAT dome
MISC 6.   Moonset into cloud over the Warrumbungle Range
MISC 7.   Star trails around the AAT dome, after Pinatubo sunset
MISC 8.   Aurora Australis from Siding Spring
MISC 13. North celestial pole star trails
MISC 14. South celestial pole star trails
MISC 15. North and South celestial poles star trails
MISC 18. The view to the north from Siding Spring
MISC 19. Sunset 'star' trail, the track of the setting sun
MISC 22. The AAT dome from the Director's Cottage.

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Updated by David Malin, 2012, March 17