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Looking for Orion's Belt in the night sky is the easiest way to locate the constellation Orion in the sky. The stars are more or less evenly spaced in a straight line, and so can be visualized as the belt of the hunter's clothing. In the Northern hemisphere, they are best visible in the early night sky during the winter, in particular the month of January at around 9.00 pm.
Alnitak (Zeta Orionis) is approximately 736 light years away from Earth and, taking into consideration ultraviolet radiation, which the human eye cannot see, Alnitak is 100,000 times more luminous than the Sun.
Alnilam (Epsilon Orionis) is approximately 1340 light years away from earth and shines with magnitude 1.70. Considering ultraviolet light Alnilam is 375,000 times more luminous than the Sun.
Mintaka (Delta Orionis) is 915 light years away and shines with magnitude 2.21. Mintaka is 900,000 times more luminous than the Sun. Mintaka is a double star. Both stars orbit around each other every 5.73 days.
The same three stars are known in Spain, Portugal and South America as "The Three Marys". They also mark the northern night sky when the sun is at its lowest point, and were a clear marker for ancient timekeeping. In the Philippines and Puerto Rico they are called the Three Kings. The stars start appearing around the holiday of Epiphany, when the Biblical Magi visited the baby Jesus, which falls on January 6.
Richard Hinckley Allen lists many folk names for the Belt of Orion. The English ones include: Jacob's Rod or Staff; Peter's Staff; the Golden Yard-arm; the L, or Ell; the Ell and Yard; the Yard-stick, and the Yard-wand; the Ellwand; Our Lady's Wand; the Magi; the Three Kings; the Three Marys; or simply the Three Stars.
In the Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever", Capt. James T. Kirk tells Edith Keeler that "a hundred years or so from now", a famous novelist will write a classic using the theme "Let me help" and indicates that he will come from "a planet circling that star just left of Orion's belt," Altinak.