The constellation Gemini means “The Twins” for its pair of bright stars. The twins are seen sitting together south of Lynx, between Cancer on the east and Taurus on the west. Castor and Pollux reach their zenith at nine o’clock P.M. in early March.
Castor is a bright white binary and very visible. Pollux is a visible orange colored star. The twins were also known as Dioscuri to the ancient Greeks.
The constellations Auriga, Cancer, Canis Minor, Lynx, Monoceros, Orion and Taurus share a border with the Gemini constellation
Right Ascension: 07:15
Diameter (°): 18
Area (square °): 514
Opposition: Jan 07
Size Rank: 30th
Brightness Rank: 13rd
Major stars in Gemini
Castor – α Geminorum (Alpha Geminorum)
Pollux – β Geminorum (Beta Geminorum)
Alhena – γ Geminorum (Gamma Geminorum)
Mebsuta – ε Geminorum (Epsilon Geminorum)
Tejat Posterior – μ Geminorum (Mu Geminorum)
Tejat Prior – η Geminorum (Eta Geminorum)
Alzirr – ξ Geminorum (Xi Geminorum)
Wasat – δ Geminorum (Delta Geminorum)
κ Geminorum (Kappa Geminorum)
κ Geminorum (Kappa Geminorum)
Propus – ι Geminorum (Iota Geminorum)
Mekbuda – ζ Geminorum (Zeta Geminorum)
τ Geminorum (Tau Geminorum)
Deep Sky Objects in Gemini
Messier 35 (NGC 2168)
Eskimo Nebula (NGC 2392, Caldwell 39)
Jellyfish Nebula – IC 443 (Sharpless 248)
Geminga (neutron star)
Mythology of the Constellation Gemini
In ancient Mesopotamia, the two bright stars in Gemini, called Meshlamtaea and Lugalirra, symbolized a pair of minor Gods who ascended from the underworld.
In Greek Mythology the stars were called Castor and Pollux. They represented the twin sons of Leda, the wife of Tyndarus, king of Sparta. The brothers had different fathers. Castor was sired by king Tyndirus, Pollux by the great god Zeus.
They were brothers of the fabled Helen of Troy. They embarked with Jason in the celebrated contest for the golden fleece. In their support of the Argonautic expedition the brothers acted with unparalleled courage and bravery. Pollux distinguished himself by his achievements in arms and personal prowess, and Castor in equestrian exercises and the management of horses.
This is why they’re represented in Grecian temples on white horses, armed with spears, riding side by side. On their heads are crowns on whose tops glitter stars. Among the ancients, and especially among the Romans they were associated with battle. It was believed that Castor and Pollux often appeared at the head of their army to lead their troops to victorious battle.
The brothers are said to have cleared the Hellespont and the neighboring seas from pirates after their return from Colchis. Henceforth they were regarded as the friends and protectors of navigation.
Castor and Pollux were also credited with the protections of sailors and were associated with St. Elmo's fire. It’s said that during a violent storm on the Argo Navis two flames were seen to play around their heads. Immediately the tempest ceased, and the sea was calm. From this, sailors inferred that whenever both fires appeared in the sky there would be fair weather. When only one appeared, there would be storms.
Although Pollux was immortal, Castor was not. It is said the brothers fell in love with the daughters of Leucippus and carried them off. The women's husbands fought with Castor and Pollux for the return of their wives. The husbands, Idas and Lynceus, were killed along with Castor.
The most commonly recounted myth is that upon Castor’s death, Pollux was overwhelmed with grief. He and wanted to share his immortality with his twin. Pollux begged his father Zeus to reunite them in the stars. Zeus agreed, and the brothers shine together as the Gemini constellation.
The twins are also included in the Hebrew zodiac according to the Encyclopedia Judaica. The constellation of the twins refers to the tribe of Benjamin in some lists, but to Zebulun in others. Sometimes they are referred to as the twin sons of Rebecca.
The twins indicate good fortune. Our positive phrase “by jiminy” comes from “by Gemini” and dates back to the 1860’s.
Sun Enters: May 21
Sun Leaves: June 21
Positives: Witty, intellectual, talkative, adaptable, perennially youthful, busy, spontaneous flair for writing, abundant energy
Negatives: Changeable, restless, cunning, two-faced, nervous, superficial, gossipy, inconsistent
As a Child: Needs much laughter - stimulation
Plant: A palm tree
Emotional: Expresses himself well in love