For several days, the moon has been moving between two dazzling morning planets, Venus and Jupiter. Venus is the one closer to the horizon. Jupiter is above. The moon, Jupiter and Venus have made a “line” in the predawn sky. Look east! On Tuesday morning, September 11, early morning risers will be additionally rewarded with a glimpse of the waning crescent moon in close vicinity to the Gemini twin stars, Castor and Pollux. Although Castor and Pollux are respectfully bright stars, they pale in contrast to Venus and Jupiter. Still, you’ll enjoy picking them out. Castor and Pollux are noticeable on the sky’s dome for being bright and close together.
Castor and Pollux depict the heads of the mythological twins, the sons of Zeus and Leda. The two stars are similar in brightness, though Pollux is actually the brighter of the two. Castor is magnitude 1.58 and Pollux is magnitude 1.16. (The brighter a star, the lower its magnitude – aka apparent magnitude – value.) These two stars have been labeled as twins throughout history. The Arabs referred to them as the “two peacocks” and the Hindus as the “twin deities.”