The Constellation: Gemini, the Twins
The constellation of Gemini is made up of two twins: Castor and Pollux. Castor was the mortal son of King Tyndarus, while Pollux was the immortal son of Zeus. Both Castor and Pollux, being identical twins, were inseparable in their looks and actions. Castor was great horseman and Pollux was a great fighter. Together, they went with Jason on the Argo and saved the ship from a terrible storm. When Castor was killed in battle, Pollux pleaded with Zeus to bring him back. Zeus agreed to immortalize both Castor and Pollux, if they spend half of their time on the Earth and the other half amongst the stars in the heavens. Since then, when sailors saw these two stars together, they knew their journey would be prosperous. However, seeing only one star foretold bad luck.
Can you find Gemini?
During the first couple of months of the year, Gemini can most easily be found by first locating the two brightest stars in Orion (a constellation which looks like a huge hour glass) and the two brightest stars in Canis Major and Canis Minor (the “dog” stars) that follow Orion. Then head northeast from the two brightest stars in Orion about the same distance as the separation between the two brightest stars in Orion. Pollux will be among the brightest star in the sky after Capella and a couple of other stars. Then Castor and Pollux are about two-fingers-together-at-arm’s-length apart from each other. After finding these two stars, the rest of the constellation completes a rectangle toward Orion. One fun fact is that the two stars that make up the heads of Castor and Pollux, appropriately named Castor and Pollux, have very interesting features about them. Castor is a complex star system made up of six different stars, while Pollux has been getting brighter and brighter for the last thousand years and is now the brightest star in the constellation.