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In last week’s Starwatch, I told you about the astronomical wonders of my favorite constellation Orion the Hunter, the big guy of the winter sky! At nightfall he’s waiting for you as he rises in the southeastern sky, resembling a giant crooked bow tie or a tilted hourglass. His belt made up of three bright stars in a perfect row really jump out at you. Orion the Hunter is as rich with mythological tales as he is with astronomical treasures. Many different cultures have their own story of this ancient constellation. One of My favorite tales evolves from Greek mythology and involves Artemis, the goddess of the moon. One word of warning here. I’ve been known to add my own twists and turns to these tales.

Orion was a huge burly character who lived for hunting and fishing. Like most of the critters and beasts he hunted, Orion was nocturnal. He stalked and hunted by night and slept under a giant tree by day. Orion was also a bit of a hermit who didn’t like to mix with other people or the local conservation enforcement officers, who took exception with his nocturnal hunting practices. To avoid people and law enforcement he moved to a large but deserted island where he could hunt and fish unabated.

Mike Lynch is an amateur astronomer and retired broadcast meteorologist for WCCO Radio in Minneapolis/St. Paul. He is the author of “Stars: a Month by Month Tour of the Constellations,” published by Adventure Publications and available at bookstores and adventurepublications.net. Mike is available for private star parties. You can contact him at mikewlynch@comcast.net.

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