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The stars of this month:

Coming from Ophiuchus, the sun has entered the constellation sagittarius at about 9:00am GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) of December 18th. It will leave it towards Capricorn in the early hours of January 20th. Ophiuchus does not belong to the signs of the zodiac, although the sun crosses this constellation during 25 days. Nevertheless, sagittarius borders on the preceding sign of the zodiac, scorpio, but outside (south of) the ecliptic. 
Astrology is based, instead of the constellations itself, on sections of equal length of the apparent sun course in the sky which 2000 years ago coincided with the position of the constellations approximately . Thus the sun astrologically already reached the section of capricorn at December 22th at about 1:15am GMT and will leave it again on January 18th at 10:38pm GMT towards aquarius.
Instead of sagittarius which in this month stands behind the sun and is not observable therefore, we now at clear nights see the remarkable constellation gemini above the horns of taurus. For the temperate zones of the northern hemishpere generally works: Note at your location simply the position of the sun in the sky at noon around 12 (make a mental note of a remarkable characteristics at the horizon and of the height of the sun). There you will find the constellation of gemini around midnight.

Gemini marks - together with taurus - the climax of the ecliptic (seen from the norhtern hemisphere) and therefore appears comparably high on sky. Most striking are the stellar 'twins' Castor und Pollux, both of 1st magnitude, only 4,5 degrees apart - this is about two times the thickness of your thumb of an extended arm. Around December 14th, in the constellation gemini you can observe the geminides, a stream of meteorites with up to 60 bright shooting stars per hour.

Repeated comparison of the 3-D-figure with the natural view at night, with time gives you a sensual impression, which stars of the constellation are close and which are far. However the 3-D-figure for the reason of physiology of sight appears strongly tossed: Actually the star z (the "left knee" of the twin Pollux) is 45 times more distant than the star Pollux (the 'twin star' at the lower left)! The poster on bottm shows the real relations of distances.


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 last change 22.09.04