Perhaps, if not all, then many know the large and bright constellation of Orion, very easily identified by three luminous points, lined up in a straight line (belt). Next to him were located Gemini, a constellation that is not inferior to the celestial hunter neither in size, nor in expressiveness and brightness of its components.
Find this site is simple enough. The zodiacal constellation of Gemini in the sky has a characteristic configuration: two parallel lines of fairly bright stars. In order to discover them, you can first find Orion, and then his shoulder, indicated by the reddish and bright star Betelgeuse. In the north-east of it are the Gemini. The constellation is spread over a fairly large area of the sky. Two practically parallel lines of luminous points are crowned by Castor and Pollux, the alpha and beta of this constellation.
You can observe the heavenly drawing throughout the territory of our country. The ideal time for this is December and January. In these months, the constellation rises high enough above the horizon and they can be admired throughout the night.
If you look at Gemini on old maps, they are always portrayed as a pair of similar young people, sometimes armed, sometimes just laughing. Strictly speaking, Castor and Pollux were not twins, at least according to one version of the myth. Their mother, the beautiful Leda, was the wife of King Sparta Tindarei. However, she gave birth to Elena the Beautiful and Polidevka's son, not from him, but from Zeus himself. Castor and Clytemnestra, who were born a little later, were the children of the Spartan king.
Polydeuk and Castor became practically inseparable: they played together, joined the Argonauts together. In addition, they won at many competitions. Castor masterfully managed with the chariot, and Polidevck loved fist fights and was known as invincible.
When Castor was killed, immortal from birth, Polydeuces asked his father to let him die and be reunited with his brother. However, Zeus did not want the death of his son and arranged in his own way: Polydeuk spent one day on Olympus with the gods, and one - with his brother in the kingdom of Hades. And in memory of brotherly love, the thunderer placed in the sky a constellation of Gemini.
Gemini - a constellation, worthy of many parameters. It is among the oldest, those that were described during the antiquity of Ptolemy in his famous "Almagest". This heavenly pattern enters the zodiac circle, along which all planets move, as well as the Moon and the Sun.
However, for the average observer, perhaps the most valuable is that the Gemini is a constellation consisting of a huge number of luminaries, almost seventy of which are discernible to the naked eye on a clear night, with fourteen of them brighter than the third magnitude. And, of course, the two main points of the celestial figure stand out more than others: Castor and Pollux.
Alpha constellation Gemini
The brightest point is Pollux. However, Alpha Gemini is exactly Castor. It ranks second in brightness in the constellation and has a number of very interesting from the point of view of astronomy characteristics.
Castor is a system of two components with a revolution period of 350 years, with each of the companions a spectroscopic double star. However, these four luminaries system Castor is not exhausted. To her is related and YY Gemini, a dull eclipsing-double star. Conditionally it is denoted in the scientific literature also by Castor S. It makes one revolution around the system of four stars over a huge period: several tens of thousands of years.
One more interesting point is connected with Castor: next to it there is a radiant of one of the meteor streams (Geminids). It can be seen in the period from 7 to 15 December. The stream receives the greatest power on the 13th, when every hour passes through 60 meteors.
The Immortal Brother
The main luminous point, which distinguishes the constellation Gemini, is the brightest star of this heavenly figure, Pollux. The light belongs to the class of orange giants. It has already descended from the Main sequence and will exhaust the helium supply soon after the universal time scales. It will happen in a hundred million years. Pollux will throw off the gas shell and become a white dwarf.
Beta Gemini is also a variable star. In addition, in 2006, a planet was discovered circling around the orange giant with a period of 589 days. The mass of the space object is 2.9 times the mass of Jupiter.
In addition to Castor and Pollux, there are several other objects that the Gemini constellation is famous for. Stars are duller than the main pair, but are notable for other parameters. Thus, the Gemini delta, or Wasat, is only the seventh in brightness in the constellation, but it is of some interest to researchers. The fact is that it is located almost exactly on the ecliptic, the circle along which the visible movement of the Sun occurs during the year. Vasat is only 0.2 degrees south of the line.
However, the popularity of its delta Gemini is more obliged to another. It was near it in 1930 that Clyde Tombaugh noticed Pluto. Vasat is the marker of the place where the dwarf planet crosses the ecliptic in its motion.
According to its physical characteristics, the Gemini delta is a subgiant of class F. Its luminosity is ten times greater than the solar one. Vasat has a companion that makes one revolution around the star in 1200 years. In addition, according to some sources, the Gemini delta can be a spectroscopic double star.
Other interesting things
Gemini - a constellation in which not only remarkable lights are located. Not far from the mu and zetas of this heavenly figure you can see a dull speck. This is a scattered cluster of M35, consisting of about 120 stars. It is available for observation of telescope owners or powerful binoculars.
As a small ball looks and one more object - the planetary nebula Eskimo, or, as it is also called, the Clown. It is located at a distance of 2900 light years from the Sun.
For an inexperienced observer, it is difficult to relate two lines of stars to the familiar images of Gemini in different literature. However, bright enough luminaries, its components, and such a landmark as Orion, are good at searching. Owners of the same telescopes have a chance to view all the objects of the heavenly figure, to fully enjoy the beauties of this part of the cosmos.