Orion's Belt Stars


One of the most obvious features people see in Orion is the three stars that make up what most people consider the belt of the giant. Mintaka , the westernmost star in the belt, comes from the Arabic word for belt. Alnilam, the center star in the belt, means "a belt of pearls". And Alnitak, the eastern-most star, means the girdle. All three are at the same distance from us and, with Rigel, Saiph, and Meissa, probably formed at about the same time some ten million years ago from the molecular clouds astronomers have found in Orion.

Fact Table

Name Alnitak
Object Star -- Super Giant
Distance 800 light years
Brightness 10,000 times greater than the Sun
Surface
Temperature
60,000 F
Color White-blue
Mass 20 times the mass of the Sun

 

Fact Table

Name Alnilam
Object Star -- Super Giant
Distance 1000 light years
Brightness 18,000 times greater than the Sun
Surface
Temperature
50,000 F
Color White-blue
Mass 20 times the mass of the Sun

 

Fact Table

Name Mintaka
Object Star -- Super Giant
Distance 900 light years
Brightness 7,000 times greater than the Sun
Surface
Temperature
60,000 F
Color White-blue
Mass 20 times the mass of the Sun

 

Image Map

 


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Ronald J. Maddalena 1998