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Gemini, The Twins Constellation

Gemini (Pronounciation:Gem-in-eye, Abbrev:Gem, Latin:Geminorum) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Gemini takes up 513.761 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 1.25% of the night sky. The constellation gets its name as it name means The Twins . The constellation is one of the original constellations that was devised by the Ancient Greco-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy who lived between 90 A.D. and 168 A.D.

Gemini is a member constellation of the Zodiac grouping, a group of 12 star signs that astrologers use to predict someones future based on their date of birth and which constellation appeared when the Sun set. The Zodiac year may be divided up equally between the twelve signs but when they appear in the night sky no longer conforms to the Zodiac calendar. Gemini is an equatorial constellation that can be seen by countries nearest the Equator.

The brightest star in Gemini is Pollux. There are 14 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Gemini. The current largest star so far identified in the constellation of Gemini is TV Geminorum. For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Gemini Star List Page.

Gemini Star and Deep Space Object Count

The number of stars that have been catalogued as part of the Hipparcos Star Catalogue from Gemini is 1446. The number of stars that are of magnitude 6.0 or lower in the constellation is 74. The number of stars in the constellation that make up the outline is 16.

There are 1 deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are 1 non-Messier deep space objects that are covered on this site and the list is below.

Stars of Interest

The nearest star to Earth is Gliese 251 which is roughly about 18.22 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 50554 which is about 97.57 Light Years. The furthest star that can be located in the constellation is HD 52961 which is located about 163081.7 Light Years away from the Sun. The furthest figure is derived from either the 1997 or 2007 Hipparcos star catalogue parallax figure and it has been known to produce distances that are wrong.

The dimmest star that can be seen in Gemini with the naked eye is 44 Geminorum. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 6. The dimmest star that a person is able to see with their naked eye is 6.0 magnitude based on the table in the reference. Ref: University of Michigan

The caveat of these stars are that they are catalogued on this site. If you know of a star that is nearer or further then do let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the site. The stars mentioned are from the Hipparcos catalogue or have been added because of their special status.

Constellation Legend

Zeus seduced Leda, the wife of Tyndareus whilst as a swan. Helen and Pollux were born from eggs. At the same time, Castor and Clytaemnestra were born, children of Tyndareus. Pollux was the son of a god and an immortal, he could not die. They grew up as brothers, competing against one another in competitions and Olympics. During competition between them and their cousins, Idas and Lynceus, Castor died. Pollux asked Zeus to allow him to die so that he could be with his brother which Zeus allowed.

Geminids Meteor Shower

The Geminids are one of the more spectacular meteor showers of the year. They occur at the end of the year, peaking about the 13/14th December. What makes them interesting is that they are multi-coloured rather than all just one colour.

The radiant point for the meteorites is near Castor, the Alpha star in the constellation but not the brightest. The star signifies the right head of the twins. Castor is a multiple star system that when you view closely, you will see it is not just one but a couple of stars.

Whilst meteor showers are associated with comets, this one is associated with an asteroid which was once believed to be a comet but lost all its dust and ice. The asteroid Phaethon orbits closest to the Sun than any other asteroid and has an orbit of roughly 524 days.

Other Meteor Showers

There are 11 Meteor Showers that occur during the year within this constellation based on information gathered from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). The ones listed as the ones I've been able to find a date range for. For others if you have the time, you can visit the AMU site, obtains the SL value then use IMO tables to calculate the date. A lot of the Meteor Showers are weak and you need to do a lot of stargazing to spot them.

NameActivityPeak ActivityClosest Star
Rho Geminids28-Dec - 28 Jan8/9 JanRho Geminorum
Epsilon GeminidsOct 14 - Oct 27 Oct 18Mebsuta

Gemini Facts

Is a Zodiac Sign Yes
Largest StarTV Geminorum
Brightest StarPollux
Area513.761 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky1.25%
Size Position30th
Hemisphere Equatorial
Site Exoplanet Count14
Meteor Shower Count11
Nearest StarGliese 251
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)HD 50554
Dimmest Star44 Geminorum
Furthest StarHD 52961
Bright Star Count74
Hipparcos Star Count1446
Main Star Count16
Messier Deep Space Object Count1
*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count1
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsAuriga
Canis Minor

*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.

Gemini Constellation Map

Gemini Constellation Star Map

The map was generated using Night Vision, an awesome free application by Brian Simpson.

List of Deep Space Objects (Galaxies, Nebulas, Supernovas, etc) in Gemini

NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
Eskimo NebulaPlanetary Nebula2,870 ly+20d 54` 42.48807h 29m 10m 7669
Jellyfish Nebula (IC443)Supernova Remnant500022:31:0506h 17h 13
Messier 35 (NGC2168)Open Cluster2800+24:2006h 08m 9

Meteor Showers

Epsilon Geminids Meteor Shower

Compared to the Geminids which occur in December, this meteor shower is more low key. It has a low rate of about one or two, not the type of meteor shower you should be looking out for if its cold where you are, there are better showers to look out for such as the "sister" shower in December. The radiant point is situated near Mebsuta, also known as Epsilon Gemini which gives the meteor shower it name. The star is the large spot in the crotch of the nearest twin.

Max Activity Date18 Oct
Activity PeriodOct 14 - Oct 27
Right Ascension93.8
Solar Longitude198
Alpha Radiant93.8
Zenith Hourly Rate2

Rho Geminids Meteor Shower

Max Activity Date08 Jan
Activity Period28-Dec - 28 Jan
Right Ascension110.8
Solar Longitude302.1
Alpha Radiant110.8

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Persom1231572Monday, 26th March 2018 8:51:53 PM
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