Tonight, as the twilight fades in the west, the “twin stars” of Gemini are lowering toward the horizon. Pollux on the left, and Castor a bit higher and to the right, are not actually twin stars. They are not even related. Pollux is 34 light years away, while Castor is a more distant 55 light years.
The star Antares, the “heart” of Scorpio, the Scorpion, is due south at midnight, shimmering a bright orangish-red. Antares was one of the four Royal Stars in Persian astronomy, marking the position of the Sun at the beginning of autumn thousands of years ago. You can see the head and shoulders of the Scorpion – a trio of stars – to the upper right.
The earliest sunrises of the year take place this week, before the longest days of the year. The Earth is farther from the Sun in June, causing it to orbit a little slower. However, it still spins on its axis at the same speed. That means it turns and faces the Sun a little more quickly, helping it to rise and shine earlier.