Orion constellation. Orion, the hunter, is one of the best known constellations in the sky. Orion's belt is formed of three bright stars in a row, from left to right, Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka (Zeta, Epsilon and Delta Orionis respectively). At upper left is the red supergiant Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis) while at lower right is the white supergiant Rigel (Beta Orionis). Below the belt is the sword of Orion, which contains the Orion nebula (M42), which is visible as a pink patch. Two bright stars in neighbouring constellations are also seen: at bottom left is Sirius (Alpha Canis Majoris) in Canis Major, and at upper right is Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) in Taurus.
© Eckhard Slawik/Science Photo Library
USN - CIA - Republic of China Air Force Lockheed EP-3B
United States Navy / Central Intelligence Agency / Republic of China Air Force Lockheed EP-3A 149673 (msn 185-5014). Built as a Lockheed P-3A-15-LO Orion, 149673 was converted to EP-3A for the Central Intelligence Agency to use in overflights of the Peoples Reublic of China (PRC). As well as ELINT and SIGINT electronics 149673, (and the two similar Black P-3As), was fitted with low-noise cropped propeller blades, extended engine exhaust to reduce noise and infra-red signature and rearwards-firing AIM-9 Sidewinder Air to Air missiles, for defence. Black P-3A: Least known of all in the P-3 family. Three P-3As (BuNo 149669, BuNo 149673, and BuNo 149678) were obtained by the CIA from the US Navy under Project STSPIN in May 1963, as the replacement aircraft for CIAs own covert operation fleet of RB-69A/P2V-7Us. Converted by Aerosystems Division of LTV at Greenville, Texas, the three P-3As were simply known as .lack P-3As under Project Axial. Officially transferred from US Navy to CIA in June/July 1964. LTV Aerosystems converted the three aircraft to be both ELINT and COMINT platforms. The first of the three .lack P-3As arrived in Taiwan and were officially transferred to ROCAFs top secret Black Bat Squadron on June 22, 1966. Armed with 4 Sidewinder short range AAM missiles for self-defense, the three .lack P-3As flew peripheral missions along the China coast to collect SIGINT and air samples. When the project was terminated in January 1967, all three .lack P-3As were flown to NAS Alameda, California, for long term storage. Two of the three aircraft (BuNo 149669 and BuNo 149678) were converted into the only two EP-3Bs in existence by Lockheed at Burbank in September 1967, while the third aircraft (149673) was converted by Lockheed in 1969-1970 to serve as a development aircraft for various electronic programs. Date: circa 1967
© The Peter Butt Aviation Collection / Mary Evans Picture Library
Orion nebula, optical image. The Orion nebulacan be seen with the naked eye as a fuzzy patch inthe constellation Orion. It comprises severalnebulae, but the brightest is M42 (pink, lowercentre). M43 is the small round nebula at centreleft, separated from M42 by a thin blue band ofgas. These nebulae glow pink as the hydrogen theycontain is ionised by radiation from hot youngstars that recently formed inside them. In thecase of M42, the stars that light it up are agroup of four known as the Trapezium (centre). Theblue nebula NGC 1977 is at top. This nebula is notionised, instead reflecting the light of nearbyblue stars. The nebulae lie around 1500 lightyears from Earth.
© Robert Gendler/Science Photo Library