On Finding Castor and Pollux

The first time I heard, or rather read about Castor and Pollux was when I first read Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins back in 2011. They are this twins who films Katniss Everdeen in District 13 together with the rest of Cressida’s team. Some time later, I found out that Castor and Pollux are actual stars in the zodiac constellation Gemini, which as we all probably know is the Twins. In Greek Mythology, Castor and Pollux are the sons of Leda from different fathers. Castor was the son of the mortal Tyndareus while Pollux was the son of the immortal god Zeus. When Castor was killed, Pollux asked his father to let him share his immortality with his twin brother and they were transformed into the constellation Gemini. Parallel with their characters in Mockingjay, Castor was also killed while Pollux had lived.

So why am I rambling about Castor and Pollux?

Wala naman, I just want to talk about them because for the first time, I actually saw them last night.

I got this mini book from months ago which is a sort of a constellation guide. Whenever I see something spectacular in the sky, like a very bright star, I tend to seek Google’s help to find out what star it is. But last night, I decided to consult my mini constellation guide to search the skies. The sky was clear and Orion was high and I thought that maybe it was a good time to gaze at the stars.

Orion is the easiest constellation for me to locate with its three stars also known as Orion’s belt. In the Philippines they are called “Tatlong Maria” and whichever way you want to call them, they still are the easiest stars to spot in the night sky. By imagining a straight line through Orion’s belt, you will eventually find the brightest star in the sky called Sirius from the constellation Canis Major. Sirius is also called the “Dog Star” and if you have read the Harry Potter series, it would definitely make sense as to why Sirius’ animagus was a dog. Through the guide, I found out that the other bright star near Sirius was Procyon which is the brightest star in Canis Minor and is also called as “Little Dog Star”.

And then I saw in my mini guide that Gemini is actually a neighbor constellation of Canis Minor. I am a Gemini by the way so if you are wondering what’s with the fascination, there goes my reason for it. After studying the image for a few more seconds, I immediately looked up at the sky once again and just like that, I finally met Castor and Pollux. And it’s just wow. I don’t know why but it truly entranced me. I mean, I know I’ve been looking at the night sky ever since and I have probably stared at those two stars countless of times before. But being properly introduced to them was still… surreal. I mean, that’s Castor and Pollux! Wow! Gemini’s brightest star is Pollux and it is an orange-hued giant star which is 34 light years away from Earth. It’s second brightest star, Castor, is a sextuple star sytem and is 52 light years away from Earth. I’m actually looking at something from 34 and 52 years ago. Crazy isn’t it? Staring at the past, at those years when I wasn’t even born yet. It’s really crazy how the Universe works.

Funny how years ago, for my innocent eyes and my unconscious mind, stars are just pinpricks of light decorating the night sky. Simple and fascinating. But now, knowing that there are all sorts of wonders and complexity surrounding them, I am even more enthralled. And even if it’s just little by little, I just really want to learn more about them.

It’s really nice to meet you Castor and Pollux.

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