A symbol of the winter sky (summer sky south of the equator), Orion is home to many beautiful double stars and a few multiple-star systems. A dozen entries on the author's list can be found within the constellation's boundaries.
Courtesy Akira Fujii.
Double-star observing offers many attractions for amateur astronomers light pollution, whether from man or Moon, has little impact on the image, and even a modest 3-inch telescope will show all the best doubles in the sky. In my opinion, a pretty double in a small scope is lovelier than a faint smudge of a galaxy in a giant light bucket.
Many amateurs enjoy the challenge of splitting very difficult (close) doubles. Occasionally I do too. But mostly I enjoy doubles simply for their beauty. After observing doubles for several years I have developed some criteria for choosing the most visually pleasing pairs or multiples, and contrasting color tops the list. The more contrast, the better. The well-known summer jewel Albireo (β Cygni), the gold and green pair Almach (γ Andromedae), and the orange and blue suns of 24 Comae Berenices are the color-contrast leaders.
A close-up view of the Orion Nebula (M42). The four stars of the Trapezium are clearly visible.
Courtesy Lick Observatory.
Lacking distinctive hues, the prettiest pairs are those reasonably well matched in brightness. Castor (α Geminorum)
is a particularly fine example of this. Stars with widely differing magnitudes just don't have the same visual appeal as a pair of twin suns blazing away in the eyepiece.
I also prefer double-star systems in which one of the stars is magnitude 6 or brighter. Dim doubles simply aren't as captivating and they're also harder to find.