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Gemini
Gemini
List of stars in Gemini
Abbreviation Gem
Genitive Geminorum
Pronunciation /ˈdʒɛmɨnaɪ/, genitive /ˌdʒɛmɨˈnɒrəm/
Symbolism the Twins, Castor & Pollux
Right ascension 7 h
Declination +20°
Family Zodiac
Quadrant NQ2
Area 514 sq. deg. (30th)
Main stars 8, 17
Bayer/Flamsteed
stars
80
Stars with planets 4
Stars brighter than 3.00m 4
Stars within 10.00 pc (32.62 ly) 4
Brightest star Pollux (β Gem) (1.15m)
Nearest star Gliese 251
(17.99 ly, 5.52 pc)
Messier objects 1
Meteor showers Geminids
Rho Geminids
Bordering
constellations
Lynx
Auriga
Taurus
Orion
Monoceros
Canis Minor
Cancer
Visible at latitudes between +90° and −60°.
Best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of February.

Gemini is one of the constellations of the zodiac. Its name is Latin for "twins", and it is associated with the twins Castor and Pollux in Greek mythology. Its symbol is Gemini.svg (Unicode ♊). It lies between Taurus to the west and Cancer to the east, with Auriga and Lynx to the north and Monoceros and Canis Minor to the south.

Contents

Notable features

The constellation Gemini as it can be seen by naked eye.

Visualizations

Gemini as depicted in Urania's Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London c.1825.
Diagram of H.A. Rey's alternative way to connect the stars of the constellation Gemini. A pair of twins are shown holding hands.

Gemini is dominated by Castor and Pollux, two bright stars that appear relatively close together, encouraging the mythological link between the constellation and twinship. The twin to the right is Castor, whose brightest star is α Geminorum (more commonly called Castor), is of the second magnitude, and represents Castor's head. The twin to the left is Pollux, whose brightest star is β Geminorum (more commonly called Pollux), is of the first magnitude, and represents Pollux's head. Furthermore, the other stars can be visualized as two parallel lines descending from the two main stars, making it look like two figures.

H.A. Rey has suggested an alternative to the traditional visualization that connected the stars of Gemini to show a pair of twins holding hands. Pollux's torso is represented by star υ Geminorum, Pollux's right hand by ι Geminorum, Pollux's left hand by κ Geminorum: all three of these stars are of the fourth magnitude. Pollux's pelvis is represented by star δ Geminorum, Pollux's right knee by ζ Geminorum, Pollux's right foot by γ Geminorum, Pollux's left knee by λ Geminorum, and Pollux's left foot by ξ Geminorum. Gamma Geminorum is of the second magnitude, while delta and xi Geminorum are of the third magnitude. Castor's torso is represented by the star τ Geminorum, Castor's left hand by ι Geminorum (which he shares with Pollux), Castor's right hand by θ Geminorum: all three of these stars are of the fourth magnitude. Castor's pelvis is represented by the star ε Geminorum, Castor's left foot by ν Geminorum, and Castor's right foot by μ Geminorum and η Geminorum: ε, μ, and η Geminorum are of the third magnitude.

Mythology

Gemini was associated with the myth of Castor and Pollux, collectively known as the Dioscuri. One myth of these twins concerns cattle theft, and may be connected to earlier myths that described the Milky Way as a herd of dairy cows.[citation needed] On star maps, the twins are usually viewed as leaning away from the Milky Way, but are sometimes depicted with one of the twins residing in the Milky Way, and the other outside it, a situation making it appear that one of the twins is stealing the cattle, and the other is observing.[citation needed] Along with the other features of the area in the Zodiac sign of Gemini (i.e. Orion, Auriga, and Canis Major), this may be the origin of the myth of the cattle of Geryon, which forms one of The Twelve Labours of Heracles. When Castor died because he was mortal, Pollux begged his father Jupiter to give Castor immortality and he did, by uniting them together in the heavens.

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Astrology

As of 2008, the Sun appears in the constellation Gemini from June 20 to July 20. In tropical astrology, the Sun is considered to be in the sign Gemini from May 21 to June 20, and in sidereal astrology, from June 16 to July 15.

See also

References

  • H. A. Rey, The Stars — A New Way To See Them. Enlarged World-Wide Edition. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1997. ISBN 0-395-24830-2.
  • Ian Ridpath and Wil Tirion (2007). Stars and Planets Guide, Collins, London. ISBN 978-0007251209. Princeton University Press, Princeton. ISBN 978-0691135564.

External links

Coordinates: Sky map 07h 00m 00s, +20° 00′ 00″


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