Photo of snowy Sussex woodland trail Photo of snowy Sussex woodland trail

Venus, Orion and Sirius

I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t go back to sleep. Some compensation was to be found outside, with a beautiful view of Orion, Sirius and Venus. All three have historically had some significance. Both Orion and Sirius have been used as seasonal markers, the ‘heliacal rising’ of Sirius being used as a forecast for flooding of the Nile in ancient Egypt. Orion is still known as a winter constellation in the northern hemisphere. The references to Venus are legion and include its use by the Maya to time the start of wars (see Anthony Aveni’s excellent book, ‘People and the Sky‘, for more on that.)

The picture is of Venus rising in the east-northeast just before five this morning, it took many attempts to get this photo as a cold wind kept rattling the tripod and its owner.

One of the many aspects of natural navigation that keeps me enthralled is that it never disappoints seasonally. As the warmth, light and ease of summer recedes, the stargazing options multiply.