Astronomy articles to help you discover the wonders of the universe.

Constellation Guide

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538 words, estimated reading time 3 minutes.

Constellation guide to the 88 official constellations which divide up the sky. These constellations are used to help navigate the celestial sphere. The Constellations are patterns in the sky which have been to invented and have deep mythology behind them. Constellations cover massive areas in the sky and as such are very easy to find.

Observational Astronomy Series
  1. Tips for Getting Started in Astronomy
  2. Dark Eye Adaption - How We See In the Dark
  3. Light Pollution
  4. Using Star Charts and Measuring Distance
  5. Constellation Guide
  6. Binocular Astronomy
  7. Moon Watching - How to Observe the Moon
  8. Buying Your First Telescope
  9. Your First Night With Your First Telescope
  10. Sky Orientation through a Telescope
  11. Polar Alignment of an Equatorial Telescope Mount
  12. Useful Astronomy Filters for Astrophotography

Cygnus

The Swan

Cygnus is a northern constellation. It was one of Ptolemy's 48 constellations. Because of the pattern of its main stars it is sometimes known as the Northern Cross asterism.

Constellation Guide Cygnus

Cygnus contains several bright stars.

Deneb, a Cygni, is an extremely brilliant star, very prominent despite its distance (1 800 light years). The blue super giant forms the swan's tail, the upper end of the Northern Cross, and one of the vertices's of the so-called 'Summer Triangle'.

Albireo, ß Cygni, is at the swan's beak. It is one of the most beautiful double stars of the sky, a golden star easily distinguishable in a small telescope from its blue companion.

Cygnus Mythology

In Greek mythology, the constellation represents several different legendary swans. Zeus disguised himself as a swan to seduce Leda, who gave birth to the Gemini, Helen of Troy, and Clytemnestra. Orpheus was transformed into a swan after his murder, and was said to have been placed in the sky next to his lyre (Lyra).

Notable Objects in Cygnus

There is an abundance of deep-sky objects, with many open clusters, nebulae of various types and supernova remnants found in Cygnus due to its position on the Milky Way.

Open clusters M39 (NGC 7092) and NGC 6910 are both easily seen with ameteur equipment, as is NGC 6826, the Blinking Planetary Nebula. It is said to blink as the central star is so bright the nebula cannot be seen when the star is looked at directly.

The North America Nebula (NGC 7000) is one of the most well-known nebulae in Cygnus, because it is visible to the unaided eye under dark skies, as a bright patch in the Milky Way.

Also visible in Cygnus is the Veil Nebula, a supernova remnant which is visible in long-exposure astrophotographs.

The Northern Coalsack Nebula, also called the Cygnus Rift, is a dark nebula located in Cygnus.

Also of note is the Crescent Nebula (NGC 6888), located between Gamma and Eta Cygni, which was formed by the Wolf–Rayet star HD 192163.

Photos of Cygnus

I have no photos of Cygnus yet.

Constellations

Northern Circumpolar Constellations

These constellations can be viewed all year round in the Northern hemisphere as they move in a counterclockwise direction around the north celestial pole without setting or dipping below the horizon.

Northern Spring Constellations

These Northern constellations are best viewed around the spring months. The rest of the year the constellation will not rise during the night.

Northern Summer Constellations

These Northern constellations are best viewed around the summer months. The rest of the year the constellation will not rise during the night.

Northern Autumn Constellations

These Northern constellations are best viewed around the autumn months. The rest of the year the constellation will not rise during the night.

Northern Winter Constellations

These Northern constellations are best viewed around the winter months. The rest of the year the constellation will not rise during the night.

Last updated on: Wednesday 24th January 2018

 

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