The Constellation Gemini

Tiny points of light, with a magic all their own.
Post Reply
Christopher K.
Posts: 5482
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

The Constellation Gemini

Post by Christopher K. »

Right after dark tonight, you'll find the First Quarter Moon due southwest hanging right underneath Pollux (Gemini's luminary , or brightest star). The asteroid Vesta is between them, though closer to Pollux.

Christopher K.
Posts: 5482
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: The Constellation Gemini

Post by Christopher K. »

As night comes tonight (about 8:45pm) looking straight over your head will yield a stunning view of the two main stars of Gemini, Castor and Pollux.

If you face northeast you'll have the two lined up with one direction going behind you and the other in front of you. Visualize the line they make continuing down the sky in the southeast. When the line gets down to about sixty degrees above the horizon you may notice a couple of magnitude 3 G-class (yellowish) stars. These are the two brightest stars of the head of Hydra the Serpent. Use a binocular and you may spy the entire lozenge-shaped design of the head.

If you keep extending the line down to forty-five degrees above the horizon, you'll find orange magnitude 2 Alphard; this star is 180 light-years away.

Christopher K.
Posts: 5482
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: The Constellation Gemini

Post by Christopher K. »

Beginning about 8:15pm CDT, Castor and Pollux show up just to the west (right) of the waxing gibbous Moon. Astonishingly Castor is a sextuple system (a "double-double-double" to be exact, though it appears to the unaided eye as one white point.

The forecast is only fair for tonight, with the best chance of seeing the celestial sphere between 10:30pm and midnight.

Christopher K.
Posts: 5482
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: The Constellation Gemini

Post by Christopher K. »

Around 8:25pm tonight Castor and Pollux can be seen high in the west, to the waxing crescent Moon's lower right; the three form a rough line. The Moon itself is across the border in Cancer.

Post Reply