Most prominent in the winter sky is a giant hexagon pattern. Make it your frame of reference for cool autumn mornings and brisk winter evenings! The winter hexagon includes six constellations, and some of the brightest of stars visible at any time of the year from northern latitudes:
Proceeding clockwise from Capella:
Star chart created with Voyager II Software for Macintosh, published by Carina Software. This is just a taste of what Voyager can do! For info on Voyager II software, call Carina Software at (510) 355-1266, write them at 12919 Alcosta Blvd Suite #7, San Ramon, CA 94583, or visit Carina Software's home page and check out Voyager II for yourself.
The night sky of winter is dominated by a giant hexagon pattern. Start with Aldebaran in Taurus, pass on to Rigel in Orion, and come down to Sirius in Canis Major
Continue upward to Procyon, in the Little Dog.
Trace on to Pollux and Castor, the two stars of Gemini, and past them to the top of the hexagon, bright yellow Capella, lying almost straight overhead, in the constellation Auriga the Charioteer. Auriga looks more like a pentagon than a Chariot, perched on top of the horns of Taurus.
The Winter Hexagon contains an unrivalled collection of stars:
Sharp is the night, but stars with frost alive
Leap off the rim of Earth across the dome.
It is a night to make the heavens our home...
The two bright stars Castor and Pollux together form one vertex of the Winter Hexagon. To the Greeks, Castor and Pollux were the twin sons of Zeus and the mortal woman Leda. HomerÍs Iliad tells how the beauty of their sister Helen "launched a thousand ships" in the Trojan war. With the oath "By Jiminy," sailors revered the Gemini twins as the Protectors of ships. Castor, on the Capella side, is actually six stars in one, ceaselessly revolving around one another in an intricately-choreographed cosmic dance....