Friday, April 13, 2012

Gemini - Down Under

This week try to find the Gemini twins in the sky. After it gets dark, look high in the southwestern sky - almost straight overhead. There you will find two stars of nearly equal brightness. If you look a little closer you will see that one is orange-yellow and the other is blue-white. Those are the heads of the twins named Pollux and Castor. Their bodies and feet are tougher to see (just look down and to the left for more stars).

Watch out for the Kangaroo!

An old Australian myth ties in the two bright stars of Gemini with the star Capella in the constellation Auriga. Castor and Pollux are two huntsmen named Yurree and Wanjil. They are hunting the elusive kangaroo named Purra (Capella). During the summer when these stars are below the horizon, it is said that the two hunters finally catch the kangaroo and kill it. They then cook his meat over a fire and cause waves of heat to rise above the ground like a shimmering haze.

The Maori of New Zealand called these two stars, "Whaka-ahu"

In African Mythology the brightest stars are The Wise and Foolish Antelope.
Others call them “Two Peacocks,” the “Two Kids,” or the “Giant’s Eyes.”