Winter Triangle

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Winter stars with the Winter Triangle front and centre, with a planet (?) above forming a diamond or cross

The Winter Triangle is an astronomical asterism formed from the three brightest stars of the winter sky.[1] It is an imaginary equilateral triangle drawn on the celestial sphere, with its defining vertices at Sirius, Betelgeuse, and Procyon, the primary stars in the three constellations of Canis Major, Orion, and Canis Minor, respectively.[2]


Winter Triangle

For much of the night in winter, the Winter Triangle lies high in the sky at mid-northern latitudes, but can also be seen during autumn in the early morning to the East. In the spring the winter triangle is visible early in the evening to the West before its stars set below the horizon. From the southern hemisphere it appears upside down and lower in the sky during the summer months.[3]

The triangle surrounds most of the faint constellation Monoceros, although it is hardly noticeable to the naked eye. The triangle is made up of first magnitude stars, Sirius even brighter, and the brightest stars of Monoceros are fourth magnitude. The other bright stars of the winter sky lie ariound the triangle: Orion including Rigel; Aldebaran in Taurus; Castor and Pollux in Gemini; and Capella in Auriga.

The stars of the Winter Triangle[edit]

Name Constellation Apparent magnitude Luminosity(L) Spectral type Distance (ly)
Sirius Canis Major −1.46 25.4 A1 V 8.6
Betelgeuse Orion 0.50 90,000 - 150,000 M2 Iab 640
Procyon Canis Minor 0.34 6.93 F5 IV-V 11.5

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Charles Morse Huffer; Frederick E. Trinklein; Mark Bunge (1967). An introduction to astronomy. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 
  2. ^ Ian Ridpath (10 December 2012). The Monthly Sky Guide. Cambridge University Press. pp. 15–. ISBN 978-1-139-62066-6. 
  3. ^ A dipper full of stars. 1964. 

External links[edit]