Gemini

Cassie Brandriff, Fourth Period

Folklore

Gemini is the symbol of the twin brothers Pollux and Castor. The brothers were the sons of the same mother, Leda, but different fathers.


Pollux was immortal because of his father, the god Jupiter, and was renowned for his strength. Castor, however, was mortal because his father, the king Tyndarus of Sparta, was a mortal as well. Instead of being known for physical strength like his brother, Castor was remembered for his skill with horses. Together, the twins traveled as Argonauts in search of the fabled Golden Fleece and fought together in the Trojan War in order to return their sister home to her husband Menelaus.


When Castor died, mortal as he was, Pollux was overcome with sorrow and grief that he begged Jupiter to allow his brother to share his immortality. Jupiter knew the story of both boys’ heroism, so he reunited the brothers by transforming them into constellations and placing them high in the heavens.

Information

Gemini depicts the twin brothers Castor and Pollux. There are two stars in the constellation that have an extremely special and specific meaning. These two stars represent the heads of the brothers. A pure white binary star is the symbol of Castor's head and a large bright orange star represents Pollux.

Pollux is the brightest star in the entire constellation; one of the four that are brighter than 3.00 magnitude. Speaking of four stars, that's how many there are within 32.62 light years. The nearest star is Gliese 251, which is 17.99 light years away from the earth.

All in all, the total area of the constellation Gemini is approximately 514 square degrees.

The neighboring constellations around Gemini are plentiful. To the north lie Auriga and Lynx, Monoceros and Canis Minor to the south, Taurus to the west, and Cancer sits to the east.

Visibility

By mid-August, Gemini is visible along the eastern horizon just before sunrise in the mornings. The constellation is best seen at night during January and February. By the time that the months of April and May arrive, Gemini is now visible just after sunset in thew western area of the sky.

The easiest and best way to locate it in the sky is to pinpoint the two brightest stars, Castor and Pollux.