1020: Orion Nebula

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Orion Nebula
Also on the agenda: what's with his hips?
Title text: Also on the agenda: what's with his hips?


The Orion nebula is a diffuse nebula situated south of the three stars that compose Orion's Belt in the Orion constellation. In terms of the comic, it is the middle "star" in the sword/dong of Orion. Dong is an American slang word for penis. The star appears fuzzy to sharp-eyed observers, and the nebulosity is obvious through binoculars or a small telescope.

When the speaker says "We are no strangers to controversy" he is probably referring to Pluto's demotion from planet to a dwarf planet, or Plutoid, or whatever it's called these days.

The title text is a quip about how small and off-kilter the hips are in Orion the constellation compared to the rest of its body.


[Cueball stands behind a lectern decorated with the indicators of the International Astronomical Union]
Cueball: Welcome to IAU Symposium #279.
Cueball: We are no strangers to controversy, and we will not shy away from the tough issues. Which brings us to the subject at hand.
[An anatomically uncensored projection of the Constellation Orion appears before the speaker]
Cueball: It's time to talk about the fact that Orion clearly has a dong.
Attendee in crowd #1: It's hard to miss.
Attendee #2: we could keep telling people it's a sword.
Attendee #3: C'mon, no one's buying that anymore.

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Stay classy Randall... -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The funny thing about people expecting us to believe Orion's penis is a sword is that swords weren't yet invented when Orion was named. However, everyone knew what a penis was. This is what we call an open and shut case. 15:29, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

We don't know exactly when Orion was created but, he was mentioned for the first time in the odyssey, about 8th BC. The first swords, the bronze-age swords, are from 17th BC. While Orion is old, is of course not as old as the 17th BC century. So, there were swords when Orion was created. ...But of course, the thing in the constellation is totally a dong. 19:57, 21 July 2014 (UTC)