Is Orion's Belt Part of the Big Dipper?

Is Orion's Belt Part of the Big Dipper
••• Image by, courtesy of Phillip Chee

Two of the most recognizable star patterns in the night sky are the belt of Orion and the Big Dipper. These two “asterisms” are in separate constellations.


An asterism is a grouping of stars or a number of stars that form a pattern in the sky.

Ursa Major

The Big Dipper is part of the constellation Ursa Major, a large region of the sky that represents a great bear. The dipper consists of seven stars, with three forming the handle of the dipper and the other four composing the bowl.

Orion's Belt

Orion’s belt consists of three stars in the middle of the Orion constellation that are so close together they look as if they could be the hunter’s belt. By following a straight line from right to left through Orion’s belt, an individual can trace a path to Sirius, the brightest star in the evening heavens, within the constellation Canis Major.


The Big Dipper is always visible throughout the night in most of the Northern Hemisphere, while observers in the U.S. may view Orion best in the autumn and winter.


Both of these asterisms contain, or are close to, other interesting features within their constellations. The second star in the Big Dipper’s handle is a double star system visible to the unaided eye. Hanging off Orion’s belt is a “dagger,” with the middle star in it actually the Great Orion Nebula.

Related Articles

What Are the Common Constellations Found in the Sky?
The Best Time of Year to See All the Constellations
A List of Constellations Visible Seasonally
How to Locate Orion's Belt
How to Find Pleiades
A Guide to Constellations for Kids
Constellations Near Orion
What Are the Three Shapes of Galaxies?
Big Dipper Facts for Kids
Examples Of Planetesimals
Animals in the Savanna Grassland
How to Find Planets With a Telescope
Chances of a Solar Eclipse
The Hardest Constellations to See
How to Find Star Coordinates
How Do I Locate Sirius in the Night Sky?
What Does the Solar System Look Like?
How to Find the Perseus Constellation
How to Use a Telescience Telescope
What Types of Zodiacs Are There Other Than Chinese?