The zodiac is an area of the sky where the Moon, Sun and other planets pass. It is also home to 13 wonderful star constellations, one of them being the Gemini constellation.
Should we look at the Gemini star constellation as two people, two goats or even twin peacocks? That can be debated between cultures, but what is for certain is where you can see Gemini from the UK. Learn everything you need to know about the Gemini constellation below.
The earliest record of Gemini was made by Aristotle in Meteorologica when he made reference to one of Gemini’s stars along with a sighting of Jupiter.
The constellation was also part of Claudius Ptolemy’s 2nd-century account and description of 48 constellations. The exact length of time that our ancestors have known about the Gemini star constellation remains unknown, but we have been aware of it for many centuries. What is more interesting is how different cultures have interpreted the constellation and connected it to different imagery (more on this under the heading below!).
Gemini is a Latin word that means twins. In Babylonian mythology, the two brightest stars of the constellation – Castor and Pullox - are referred to as the Great Twins. Whereas in Greek mythology, the constellation is associated with two figures by the same names of the stars. Although, these two mythological figures were not twins at all. Learning the connections between constellations and mythology is one of the coolest things about stargazing
The Gemini constellation is located between the Cancer and Taurus constellations in the Northern Hemisphere’s second quadrant (NQ2). It is seen between the latitudes of +90 and -60 degrees. If you already know where Orion is, turn your head slightly northeast of that constellation to see Gemini.
Gemini covers an area measuring 514 square degrees. By that token, it is the 30th largest constellation out of the 88 constellations recognised by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
The considerable size of this constellation combined with its two bright stars make it easier for new stargazers to see Gemini. However, it is always best to look for constellations with low levels of light pollution – and always know the right time to look for them.
The Gemini star constellation is best observed from the UK in the month of February at 9pm. If you miss your chance in February, it can also be seen in April and May after sunset by looking west. Yet, it is always recommended to look for Gemini in February.
There are lots of answers to this question. Not all stars in the same constellation are the same distance away. In fact, it is very rare that more than two major stars in the same constellation are at a similar distance. This can be hard to comprehend because when we look at Gemini from Earth, all of the stars look like they are a similar distance away.
A great example of this is can be found by looking at the distances of two Gemini twins themselves. Castor is approximately 51 light years away from the Sun, while Pollux is just under 34 light years away. Two other stars in the constellation, namely Alhena and Mebsuta, are over 700 light years apart from each other.
Most people agree that Orion has eight or more major stars within the constellation. It also includes some of the brightest stars in the sky, which will help you find Orion when stargazing.
Three of the constellation’s most famous stars make up Orion’s Belt (information below!). These are called Alnilam, Mintaka and Alnitak. However, none of these stars is the brightest in Orion. That award goes to Rigel, the sixth brightest star in the sky. Its other major stars include:
Orion is a complex constellation and one of the most fascinating to learn about. So why stop here? Keep reading to discover unique bonus Orion information that will put you top of the constellation class:
You can now name a star after someone special at Star Name Registry.Learn how this is made possible and choose the perfect gift with us!