Orion already stands high in the southeastern sky just before dawn on Sept. 13. The Orion Nebula is the fuzzy spot in the short string of stars just below the belt. Bob King
With time off from work this week, I got up before dawn to stand face to face with Orion. What a beautiful thing the winter stars are on a warm, still September morning. Sometimes I like a little classical music when I’m out with the telescope, but the crickets and katydids outdid Mozart in their simple, insistent rhythms, so I turned the radio off this time.
The Orion Nebula is home to hundreds of newborn stars that form when clots of gas and dust contract under the force of gravity. NASA/ESA
At 4 a.m., one hour before the onset of morning twilight, Orion was already well up in the southeastern sky. He still leaned on his side, but the full figure of the Hunter stood out in the clear, bright stars throbbing in unseen air currents. I pointed the telescope to the pink rose that is the Orion Nebula. I’ve lost count of how many time I’ve looked at its bright folds and dark corridors shot with ...