Alnitak (Zeta Orionis) -- Multiple Star in Orion
Alnitak is the eastern most star in the belt of Orion. Its name translates to “The Girdle”.
Alnitak’s primary star is impressive; 20-times the size of our sun, 33-times the mass of
our sun and shining 21,000-times that of our sun. Alnitak is a member of the “Orion
OB1 Association” occasionally referred to as Open Cluster “Collinder 70”. However,
this Open Cluster is far too spread-out in the night sky for it to appear as such. It is also
a pleasing Multiple Star System that shows three stars through my telescope. The
companion stars are a light blue while the primary star is white.
Easy to find and easy to see; I would recommend a high-power view of Alnitak when
you become worn out visually seeking the nearby Flame, Horsehead and numerous
smaller nebulae. It will help lift your spirits from the “often” frustrating observing session.