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The Saucepan

The Pot

GenitiveOrionis
AbbreviationOri
Right Ascension5h25 to 5h42
Declination-5° 54' to -0° 17'
Area (sq deg)11
Brightest StarAlnilam
Optimum VisibilityDecember / January
NotesAn occasional name for a group of stars in southern Orion. Sources differ on its exact constitunent stars, though all agree that the base of the Saucepan consists of the three stars of Orion's Belt. The Sword of Orion is commonly seen as the 'handle' of the Saucepan, but some sources also elongate this handle to include the star Saiph at Orion's foot.
Map of the Saucepan in Orion Map of the Saucepan in Orion

The bright and easily recognisable pattern of Orion incorporates several asterisms or unofficial star groupings. Notable among these the three stars that form Orion's Belt, and the chain of stars and nebulae running southward from the Belt that form the Sword of Orion. Rather less commonly, these two groups are collectively known as the Saucepan or the Pot. The Sword forms the Saucepan's handle, while the stars of the Belt form its base (the Saucepan is upside-down, with its base pointing northwards). The shape is completed by Eta Orionis, a star not belonging to either the Belt or the Sword, which completes an approximate square that represents the Saucepan's bowl.

The term 'Saucepan' is also occasionally applied to a configuration of stars in Pavo the Peacock, that also form a bowl-and-handle shape. These stars (which are considerably less prominent than those of Orion) are only visible from the Earth's southern hemisphere.

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