GEMINI STAR – The embodiment of brotherhood
Gemini or Gemini (♊) is one of the constellations of the zodiac. It is also one of the 48 constellations of Ptolemy and one of the 88 modern constellations. Gemini in Latin means “twins” and it is associated with the story of two brothers Castor and Pollux in Greek mythology.
In Greek mythology, Castor and Pollux were fraternal twins. The same child of Leda’s mother, but Castor was the son of Tyndareus, king of Sparta, husband of Leda, and Pollux was the son of Zeus, king of the gods. They are two faithful children, very brave and together they are famous for performing many glorious feats in many battles. Once Castor died in battle. Deeply sad, Pollux attempted suicide after him. But because Pollux inherited the blood of Zeus, he was an immortal warrior. At that time, Pollux begged his father to grant Castor immortality, and Zeus agreed, taking the two together into heaven. Since then, the constellation Gemini has been considered a symbol of friendship and brotherhood. This is why people named Pollux and Castor as the two brightest stars in this constellation, symbolizing the two heroes.
Constellation of Gemini in the sky of Hanoi on the night of December 8, 2016. Photo: Stellarium.
Gemini is quite observable, even for amateurs. It is located north of Orion, between Taurus and Cancer on the ecliptic plane. The Sun crosses this constellation on the ecliptic from June 20 to July 20 each year (although this zodiac sign is from May 21 to June 21). In mid-August, Gemini will appear on the eastern horizon every morning before sunrise.
• Eccentric: 7 hours
• Declination: 20°
• Visible throughout the Northern Hemisphere and most of the Southern Hemisphere
• Best seen in February In April and May, Gemini can be seen shortly after sunset.
The position of Gemini in the sky. Photo: IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine.
The easiest way to identify Gemini is to find its two brightest stars. Castor and Pollux lie east of the familiar V of Taurus and the famous three aligned stars of Orion. Alternatively, you can draw a line from the Pleiades star cluster into Taurus and Leo’s brightest star, Regulus. In doing so, you draw an imaginary line close to the ecliptic, a line that intersects Gemini almost in the center, just below Castor and Pollux. Also, interestingly, at mid-latitudes in the northern hemisphere, when the two brightest stars in Gemini, Castor and Pollux, are nearly overhead, Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, shines lower in the southern sky. In the southern hemisphere, it’s quite the opposite: Sirius sparkles above our heads while Gemini looms low in the northern sky.
The constellation Gemini is named after the twin brothers whose brightest stars are also named after them. Castor and Pollux represent the heads of the two children, while the fainter stars draw their bodies. Pollux, an orange giant, is the brightest star, while Castor is actually a six star system that is a slightly dimmer white star.
Although the constellation is only the 30th in area, Gemini has up to 70 stars visible to the naked eye. The most notable objects in this constellation are the Eskimo Nebula, the Medusa Nebula, and Geminga, a neutron star. Gemini also includes the open star cluster Messier 35, one of several objects located by French astronomer Charles Messier in 1771. M35 is located near the “legs” of the twins. This cluster is estimated by astronomers to be over 100 years old. In addition, it is also possible to search for the Medusa Nebula IC 443, the open star cluster NGC 2158, NGC 2355 or the planetary nebula NGC 2371-2.
The Eskimo Nebula. Photo: NASA/Andrew Fruchter (STScI).
Open star cluster M35. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
SOME KEY STARS
A giant orange star located 34 light years from Earth. With about 9 times the mass of the Sun and about 2 times the mass, Pollux is the brightest star in the constellation Gemini. Moreover, it is also known as β Geminorum.
Also known as α Geminorum, Castor is actually a six star system with three binary systems orbiting around a center of gravity. The main star has about 3 times the mass of the Sun and 2 times the radius. They are located 52 light years from Earth.
Some of the major stars in the constellation Gemini. The numbers next to them indicate their apparent brightness. The smaller the number, the clearer the star can be seen from Earth.
Also known as δ Geminorum, Wasat is actually a three star system located 60 light years from Earth. This system consists of a pair of binary stars orbiting a fainter third star.
A massive star with a surface temperature similar to that of the Sun, Mekbuda measures 65 times the diameter of the Sun and about 8 times its mass, also known as ζ Geminorum.
A supergiant star 800 light-years from Earth, Mebsuta has a diameter up to 150 times that of the Sun and a mass of about 29 times, also known as ε Geminorum.
A yellowish-white star 60 light-years from Earth, Alzirr (ξ Geminorum) is one and a half times the mass of the Sun and about three times as wide in radius.
A white star on the verge of becoming massive, Alhena lies about 100 light-years from Earth with a radius and mass about three times that of the Sun. It is also known as γ Geminorum.
Tejat Posterior (μ Geminorum) is a red giant with 2500 times the luminosity of the Sun, making it one of the brightest stars in Gemini. It is located about 230 light years from Earth.
Prior of Tejat
A three star system 350 light years from Earth with its main star being a red giant, Propus is also known as η Geminorum.
Propus (ι Geminorum) is a variable star at a distance of about 326 light years from us.
GEMINIDS meteor shower
Geminid meteor shower 2009. Photo: Wally Pacholka, according to APOD.
The Geminids meteor shower is the most anticipated meteor shower of the year, its peak falls on December 13-14 every year with about 100 meteor showers per hour, making it the brightest, most beautiful, brightest and most numerous meteor shower. There is also another smaller meteor shower in this constellation, the Epsilon Geminids, whose peak falls between October 18 and 29 each year, and this meteor shower has only recently been confirmed by astronomers. The Epsilon Geminids meteor shower coincides with the Orionids meteor shower, making the Epsilon Geminids difficult to detect with the naked eye.
Compiled from: Wikipedia, Space.com, Earthsky.org, Solarsystemquick.com, Constellation-guide.com and a few other sources.