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Orion’s Footstool

GenitiveEridani / Orionis
AbbreviationEri / Ori
Right Ascension5h02 to 5h18
Declination-9° 44' to -5° 4'
Area (sq deg)7.4
Brightest StarCursa
Optimum VisibilityDecember
NotesA group of four stars dominated by Cursa or Beta Eridani (whose name translates as 'footstool of Orion'), this asterism also incorporates Psi and Lambda Eridani, as well as Tau Orionis near Rigel. The four stars enclose a large but faint band of interstellar dust, IC 2118, commonly known as the Witch Head Nebula.

The brilliant star in the southeast of this image is Rigel in Orion, but that star is not traditionally part of the Footstool formation. Rather, Orion's Footstool is made up of the four stars forming a cross shape around the central reticle on this image. The brightest of the four is Cursa to the north, with the others being Tau Orionis to the east, Lambda Eridani to the south and (faintest of the four) Psi Eridani to the west. The narrow nebulous region running through the western Footstool is IC 2118, the Witch Head Nebula. Imagery provided by Aladin sky atlas