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Nothing But The Facts: Constellation Gemini Explored!

written by: Sushma•edited by: RC Davison•updated: 5/24/2011

The constellation Gemini is associated with the stars, Castor and Pollux, which represents strength and positivity. It is a masculine sign with a dual face, and is symbolized by an image of twins. Let us explore some very important aspects about this constellation, which is unique in its own ways.

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    Gemini : The Twins!

    The third astrological sign of the zodiac constellation of Gemini is a strong, masculine, positive or extrovert, and an air sign. It is represented by the image of twins, which reflects the characteristic feature of Gemini. It lies between Taurus and Cancer. The brightest stars of Gemini, Castor and Pollux, form the twin image of this zodiac.There are many aspects of Gemini that are very interesting and are much more than what meets our eye.

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    General Facts

    1. Symbolic Image : Twins
    2. Right ascension : 7Gemini symbol 
    3. Declination: +20
    4. Quadrant : M35
    5. Latitudes visible at : +90° and -60°
    6. Time best visible: 2100 hours or 9p.m, in February.
    7. Area of sky covered: 514 square degree
    8. Rank in constellation size: 30th
    9. Brightest star: Pollux (βgem) (1.16m)
    10. Nearest star: GJ 251 (18.2 ly)
    11. Position in the Zodiac: Third
    12. Ruling Planet : Mercury
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    Astronomical Facts

    Star Map of Gemini 

    Brighter Stars of Gemini constellation: Gemini has four bright stars. Pollux and Castor are the brightest and represent the twins of the symbolic image. The visual magnitude of these stars are:

    • β Gem (Pollux) - magnitude : 1.16
    • α Gem (Castor) - magnitude : 1.58
    • Gamma (Alhena) - magnitude : 1.93
    • Mu (Tejat Posterior) - magnitude : 2.87

    Other stars : The other stars present in this constellations are :υ Geminorum, ι Geminorum, κ Geminorum, δ Geminorum, ζ Geminorum, γ Geminorum, λ Geminorum, ξ Geminorum, τ Geminorum, Geminorum y, θ Geminorum, ε Geminorum, ν Geminorum, μ Geminorum and η Geminoru. All these stars have a magnitude higher than 3.

      Other objects in the constellation: The most prominent night objects in constellation Gemini are M35 and NGC 2392. M35 (NGC 2168), is an open cluster of 200 stars with a magnitude of 5. It is visible as a patch. The Eskimo Nebula (NGC 2392) is a planetary nebula present in this constellation.

      Photographic Image of Constellation Gemini Meteor showers: The Geminid Meteors are usually the best among of all the annual showers, surpassing the famous Perseids of August. Studies of past find the "Gems" have a reputation for being rich, both in slow, graceful, bright meteors and fireballs as well as faded meteors, with relatively fewer objects of medium brightness. They are best visible mid-December between the 12-15th after 10:00 PM. One can see 120 -160 per hour under most favorable conditions.

      {Image credit : above right : Star Map of Gemini :Michael Bakich from Astronomy.com blog : http://www.astronomy.com/asy/objects/images/chart_gemini_0208_1000.jpg}

       

      {Left : This photo of the constellation Gemini shows, enlarged in their true color, the main "naked eye" stars that make up the shape of the constellation. Image courtesy of http://www.scienceandart.com}

       

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      Astrological Facts :

      Symbolic Image: Twins

      Symbolic significance: The heavenly twins take on the general significance of all symbolic twins.

      Period: May 22 to June 23

      Archetype: Storyteller, messenger

      Element : FireMythological image of Gemini 

      Quality: Mutable

      Group : Emotional

      Ruling house: Third

      Favorable Colors:Green

      Lucky Gem: Agate

      Key Body Parts: Arms, Shoulders, Lungs

      Cosmic Strengths : They are adaptable and very versatile. Highly intellectual with good communicative skills, spontaneous, youthful, and talkative.

      Cosmic weaknesses : They are changeable, inconsistent, restless, inquisitive, sometimes cunning and secretly nervous.

      Chinese Counterpart : Horse

      {Image credit : above right : Mythological image of Gemini: http://hubblesource.stsci.edu/sources/illustrations/constellations/images/web_gemini_rot.gif}

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      Other Interesting Facts

      Mythology: The twin stars, Castor and Pollux collectively called Dioscuri, were the offspring of Leda, but each of them had a different father. As a result, Castor was mortal while Pollux was immortal. The two brothers lived as one, and as one of the rewards Zeus/Jupiter placed their image among the stars as the constellation of Gemini, The Twins. In Arabian mythology, the twins were said to be a pair of peacocks. The Egyptians acknowledged the two stars as a pair of young goats.

      Historical significance: The exact origin of this symbol is not fully known. The two stars, Castor and Pollux are said to represent two stick figures and symbolizes the number II in Roman numerals. This is the constellation's symbol for the twin god as seen above. The twin stars in China represent the dual forces of nature, the yin and the yang. Castor and Pollux are also said to be associated with the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.

      {Image credit : below : Gemini - The twins : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gemini2.jpg}

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      Gemini : The Twins

      Gemini : The Twins
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      Some Cool facts

      Gemini is the Latin term for twins. The name for this constellation in Sanskrit is "Mithun". This is a constellation of the Northern hemisphere. The twin stars of Castor and Pollux lie between Taurus to the west, and Cancer to the east, with Auriga and Lynx in the north and Monoceros and Canis Minor in the south. Castor is a binary star and Mercury governs the twins.Open Star Clusters M35 and NGC 2158 

      Open Cluster M35 is the part of Gemini. NGC 2158 lies in the southeast of M35. Also of importance is the exclusive Eskimo Nebula, which is also known as the Clown face Nebula. This is southeast of the NGC 2420 open star cluster. To the far northeast of this cluster lies NGC 2371, a planetary nebula next to the Gemini twin on the right. Another popular nebula in Gemini is on the southern tip of the constellation, Abell 21 the Medusa Nebula.

      Almost 2000 years ago the summer solstice lay in Cancer. However, now it lies in Gemini. Gemini attains its uppermost position in the evening sky in February.

      {Image Credit : Open Star clusters : M35 and NGC 2158: "NOAO/AURA/NSF". http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ima...5_cfht_big.jpg}

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      References

      http://seds.lpl.arizona.edu/Maps/Stars_en/Fig/gemini.html

      http://stargazing.suite101.com/article.cfm/observing_the_constellation_gemini

      http://www.zodiacology.com/The_Constellation_Gemini.html

      http://www.novareinna.com/constellation/gemini.html

      http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/G/Gemini_constellation.html