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It’s back! My favorite constellation, Orion the hunter, has once again resumed his full rein in the early evening southeastern sky along with his entourage of bright constellations. I love to refer to this collection as “Orion and his gang.” In fact, out of the 20 brightest stars seen in Shamokin, 11 of them are residents of Orion’s gang.

Without a doubt, Orion is the marquee constellation of winter. Even in heavily lit urban skies, Orion’s stars pierce through. To me, at least, it resembles both a crooked bowtie or an hourglass. In Greek and Roman mythology, it’s stars outline the torso of a giant and heavily bulked hermit hunter. Orion is portrayed in the night sky holding a shield in one hand and raising a sword with the other. It’s quite a tale as to how this hermit hunter wound up among the stars that I’ll share with you next week in Starwatch.

Mike Lynch is an amateur astronomer and professional broadcast meteorologist for WCCO Radio in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

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