Constellations of Winter ⬅︎

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Winter is a great time for stargazing because there are many bright, colorful stars and impressive targets. The premier constellation in winter is Orion, the Hunter. With its belt of three stars, bright Betelgeuse on one side and Rigel on the other, Orion is easy to recognize.

Orion is very useful in finding the other bright stars. Its belt points downwards to the brightest star in earth's night sky: Sirius in Canis Major, the Big Dog. Sirius is popularly known as the Dog Star. In the other direction, the belt points to Aldebaran in Taurus, the Bull. This orange star is the bull's eye.

Above-left of Betelgeuse is a pair of bright stars, Castor and Pollux, in Gemini, the Twins. Above-right is Capella in Auriga, the Charioteer. There's one more bright star to learn: Procyon in Canis Minor, the Little Dog. Its name means 'before the dog' because it rises just ahead of Sirius.

If you form a triangle using Betelgeuse, Sirius and Procyon, inside the triangle is our last constellation: Monoceros, the Unicorn. It has no bright stars of its own so the triangle-trick helps to find it. But it does have great targets. Use the links below to explore these constellations further.
Viewing Constellations of Winter
LevelEasyRatingBest ViewingWinter
FindTo start, face S and look from E to W until you find the three bright stars of the Belt of Orion.
Use the map and info above to find the brightest stars and constellations of winter. Try drawing the constellations with bright stars, constellation lines and labels.
▶︎ Constellations of Winter  ▶︎ AurigaGemini OrionTaurusMonoceros