View Full Version here: : From Antarctica: is Orion a summer or winter constelltion ?
15-02-2012, 02:13 PM
As we all know Orion is a southern summer (or northern winter) constellation as it is best visible in December.
But when can Antarctic viewers see Orion at best as in summer the sun never sets?
15-02-2012, 02:50 PM
What an interesting question! From the South Pole, you get the same sky view whatever time of year but of course over summer the Sun never sets so winter is best. Orion (The Pot, Orion's Belt) sits just above the horizon all day and all night in winter and skims the full 360-deg over a 24-hr period, as it does 'invisibly' in summer! To view it from the South Pole you'd need a flat horizon (a given!) and clear skies (not a given!).
As your latitudes move up in Antarctica, you start to get night-to-night variation. From 80 deg S, Orion's Belt rises to around 10-deg in the north in midwinter and dips below the horizon in the south.
15-02-2012, 04:12 PM
Orion would actually be quite difficult to view from Antarctica. During summer, you won't be able to observe it at all, as pretty much the entire continent is within the Antarctic circle so you'll be getting the midnight sun around the solstice and the sky will never be fully dark basically for several weeks either side of it.
For around 70-80S the best times for Orion are around August-Sept and March-April when Orion is in the morning or evening sky respectively but with the sun far enough north to avoid the all-night twilight. However, even then it will only be visible for a short time (about 3-4 hours) before morning twilight or after evening twilight ends. Because Orion is best seen during those months when the sun is south of the celestial Equator, you'll always have a fairly limited viewing opportunity when compared to lower latitudes.
At the south pole, the best times would be in the winter months but you'll only ever see half of him ;)
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