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The Saucepan

The Pot

Right Ascension5h25 to 5h42
Declination-5° 54' to -0° 17'
Area (sq deg)11
Brightest StarAlnilam
Optimum VisibilityDecember / January
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.