Finding the Winter Hexagon will give you a fresh viewpoint on the winter night sky. It is made up of six brilliant stars that surround the constellation of Orion in the southeast (as seen from the northern hemisphere).
The Winter Hexagon is an excellent naked-eye target in January and February. Going clockwise in the hexagon, starting with Sirius (the brightest star in the sky at -1.4 magnitude), we have Procyon (the eighth brightest star in the sky, magnitude +0.4), Pollux (the seventeenth brightest star in the sky, magnitude +1.16), Capella (the sixth brightest, magnitude +0.08), Aldebaran (the fourteenth brightest, magnitude +0.87), and Rigel (the seventh brightest, magnitude +0.18).
Quick Guide to Observe the Winter Hexagon.
In January and February, the Winter Hexagon is a great target for the naked eye. There is no city on earth where it is impossible to see the stars of the Winter Loop. Step outside two hours after sundown and scan the southeast for Sirius (in Canis Major), a beautiful star low on the horizon. Head south to Orion to see the magnificent Rigel. Orion’s Belt is below it. Ascend to orangey Aldebaran, which is currently in Taurus. The biggest hop, to the bright, white Capella in Auriga, is about to start. Go immediately away to Pollux (Castor is close by in Gemini). In that direction, return to Procyon in Canis Minor. Once you reach Sirius, your journey is over.
How to find the Winter Hexagon?
- Two hours after sunset, step outside and look southeast to spot Sirius (in Canis Major), a brilliant star low on the horizon.
- Visit the brilliant Rigel in Orion by heading south. It lies below Orion’s Belt.
- Currently, ascend to orangey Aldebaran in Taurus.
- The biggest hop is about to begin—to dazzling, white Capella, which is located in Auriga.
- Go down to Pollux right away (Castor is close by in Gemini).
- Go back to Procyon in Canis Minor by heading in that direction.
- You continue on to Sirius, and then you’re done!
What can you see on the Winter Hexagon with a telescope?
Here is a list of things that you will be able to observe on the Winter Hexagon:
What telescope to see the Winter Hexagon?
Celestron – NexStar 8SE Telescope – Computerized Telescope, and Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector, are great telescopes to see to see the Winter Hexagon. A list of telescopes has more telescope options that can see the Winter Hexagon very clearly.
What size telescope to see the Winter Hexagon?
You can see the Winter Hexagon very well via a 70mm telescope. The views and details are better and crisper the larger the aperture.
What magnification is required to see the Winter Hexagon?
The full Winter Hexagon may be seen at a magnification of 50x. A 150x magnification is preferred to see the details. The Winter Hexagon is the only starry object that can tolerate extreme magnification. It also reduces the glare of the Winter Hexagon. Although most observers prefer a lower magnification, you can increase it if your eyepiece has a wide field of view. It’s conceivable that you’ll gasp for air when you see the starfield.
Enjoying the Winter Hexagon? Here are other things to see with your telescope.
Through a telescope, one can view the grandeur of the starry night sky. The Winter Hexagon may be seen with a telescope, but you can also see the features of Venus, Mercury, asteroids, meteor showers, and other objects in the night sky. If you’d want to observe them, you can look at the ‘List of things to see with a telescope’ which offers a summary of several night sky objects you can view using various telescopes. Moreover, Viewing The Big Dipper Through A Telescope can guide you to find the big dipper easily.