The Evolving Universe

Smithsonian Institution

Who or What is Orion?

An image of the Greek mythical giant, Orion, and the stars of the Orion constellation overlayed

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Orion is a constellation - a pattern of bright stars that astronomers use to map out the night sky. Developed by astronomers long ago, the constellations still aid stargazers looking for particular stars.

Many constellations are named after people and creatures from Greek and Roman myths. Orion was a giant, son of the ocean god, and a skillful hunter killed by the sting of a huge scorpion.

From Earth, the stars in Orion may look close together and related, but some of them are actually hundreds of light-years apart.