Magnitude Charts for the Constellation Gemini at 40N
Compare the view of your nighttime sky to the Magnitude Charts below. This will determine the magnitude of the faintest stars that you can see at your location. For printouts to use during your observation, you can use the magnitude charts included in the Activity Guides. For practice, try the Observation Practice quiz! (requires Flash)
Can you find Gemini?
During the first couple of months of the year, Gemini can most easily be found by first locating the two brightest stars in Orion (a constellation which looks like a huge hour glass) and the two brightest stars in Canis Major and Canis Minor (the “dog” stars) that follow Orion. Then head northeast from the two brightest stars in Orion about the same distance as the separation between the two brightest stars in Orion. Pollux will be among the brightest star in the sky after Capella and a couple of other stars. Then Castor and Pollux are about two-fingers-together-at-arm’s-length apart from each other. After finding these two stars, the rest of the constellation completes a rectangle toward Orion. One fun fact is that the two stars that make up the heads of Castor and Pollux, appropriately named Castor and Pollux, have very interesting features about them. Castor is a complex star system made up of six different stars, while Pollux has been getting brighter and brighter for the last thousand years and is now the brightest star in the constellation.
Practice Finding Gemini.
(Images modified from charts provided by Jan Hollan, of the Global Change Research Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic)