I left work a little early, as we had a blizzard recently, and I had a number of cancellations at the psychotherapy practice for which I work. I looked up at the sky, and as is typical for after a major storm, the sky was clear. Cassiopeia was clear as day.
But, we are talking about MY luck, right? I got home and had to get a few things done around the house, then we had a guest, and then I went outside, and clouds had formed. Cassiopeia was gone. Orion was around (it often is), but I saw that the last time. Jupiter was in a clear patch, so I took a pic or two.
Couldn’t get any real detail on Jupiter–that will have to wait until I start bringing out the telescope (too darn cold right now–14 degrees F, with a wind chill of 5 degrees F! Brrrrr!). But, I was able to see Castor and Pollux, the “twins” of Gemini with the naked eye (the conditions stunk, so that’s all of what I was able to see of Gemini). When I took the picture, I took it at the widest setting, and cropped like mad. Picture quality did improve compared to earlier pics, and I noted that Castor appeared to be a blue star! I had never seen a blue star before! Of course, I looked it up on Wikipedia, and it turns out that the blueness is an artifact of the fact that it is light from several very close stars (see below). Even on the cruddiest nights, one can experience new things.
Here is information on Jupiter.
α Gem (Castor): the second brightest in the constellation [of Gemini] after Pollux. Castor is a sextuple star system 52 light-years from Earth, which appears as a magnitude 1.6 blue-white star to the unaided eye. Two spectroscopic binaries are visible at magnitudes 1.9 and 3.0 with a period of 470 years. A wide-set red dwarf star is also a part of the system; this star is an Algol-type eclipsing binary star with a period of 19.5 hours; its minimum magnitude is 9.8 and its maximum magnitude is 9.3.
β Gem (Pollux): the brightest star in Gemini, it is an orange-hued giant star of magnitude 1.2, 34 light-years from Earth. Pollux has an extrasolar planet revolving around it, as do two other stars in Gemini, HD 50554, and HD 59686.