The winter Hexagon

One of the sky’s largest asterisms a recognizable pattern of stars separate from a constellation’s form occupies center stage on winter's evenings.

The Winter Hexagon is a collection of stars that make up a pattern in the sky. It's not an official constellation, but it is made up of the brightest stars of Gemini, Auriga, Taurus, Orion, Canis Major, and Canis Minor. It's also often called the Winter Circle.

To trace the so called Winter Hexagon, start with
Orion’s luminary, Rigel. From there, the hexagon makes a clockwise loop. The second stop is brilliant Sirius in Canis Major. Next, pick up Procyon in the faint constellation Canis Minor, then the twins Castor and Pollux in Gemini, followed by Capella in Auriga, Aldebaran in Taurus, and finally back to Rigel.

1.Sirius, in Canis Major the Big Dog
Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, forms the lowest vertex of the hexagon pattern.

2.Capella, in Auriga the Charioteer
Capella, the she-goat, is a bright yellow star almost directly overhead throughout the winter. It forms the top vertex of the winter hexagon.
Proceeding clockwise from Capella

3.Aldebaran, in Taurus the Bull
To the lower right of Capella is Aldebaran, the red eye of Taurus, gleaming out of the night as the bull charges down upon Orion. Look for the Hyades, a V-shaped cluster of stars that forms the bull's head.

4.Rigel, in Orion the Mighty Hunter
To the upper right of Sirius is Rigel, a bluish-white star, and the left foot of Orion. Look nearby for Orion's belt and bright Betelgeuse, his reddish right shoulder.

5.Procyon, in Canis Minor the Little Dog.
Located above left of Sirius, Canis Minor consists of only two bright stars, and Procyon is by far the brightest.

6.The remaining vertext of the winter hexagon is comprised of the two bright stars of Gemini: Pollux (on the Procyon side) and Castor (on the Capella side).

"Sharp is the night, but stars with frost alive
Leap off the rim of Earth across the dome.
It is a night to make the heavens our home..."

Happy new year !

Phedias Hadjicharalambous.
Cyprus Astronomy Organisation
International Dark Sky Association