Gemini

Gemini (jĕmˈənĪ, –nē) [key] [Lat., = the twins], northern constellation lying on the ecliptic (the sun's apparent path through the heavens) between Taurus and Cancer, N of Canis Minor; it is one of the constellations of the zodiac. Gemini is traditionally depicted as two men. The two brightest stars in Gemini, Castor and Pollux (north of the bright star Procyon in Canis Minor), are two of the brightest stars in the sky and were identified by the Greeks with two children, in most accounts the twin sons of Zeus and Leda. The Egyptians identified the two stars with a pair of young goats. An annual meteor shower known as the Geminids appears to radiate from this constellation during the second week in December. Owing to the precession of the equinoxes, the summer solstice now lies in Gemini, rather than in Cancer as it did 2,000 years ago. Gemini reaches its highest point in the evening sky in February.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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