The Cygnus Constellation

179443_141761252676275_2138429593_nCygnus, the Swan, is a beautiful, easily recognized constellation in the form of a giant cross; it is sometimes called the Northern Cross. Deneb, its brightest star is a brilliant white star of magnitude 1.3 (18th of the 20 brightest stars) marks the bottom of the cross (from my view). There are many bright stars in Cygnus; it lies directly in the Galactic Plane (the plane of a galaxy) and is therefore embedded in the Milky Way. On a clear night (in relation to the Singapore skyline only, as light pollution is factored) the brightest stars seen by the naked eye are Deneb, Sadr, Gienah, Delta Cygni, Albireo, and Zeta Cygni, in that order. In the boundary of the Cygnus Constellation, there are about 30 to 40 dimmer stars that are best seen with a pair of binoculars. I am trying to identify as many as I am able when clear skies permit.

If you don’t know where to look for Cygnus, just identify Vega, a brilliant white star of magnitude -0.1, the fourth brightest star in the sky, and the brightest visible from the northern latitudes at between 3.00am to 5.00am, facing north directly for the month of May. Cygnus is about two handswidth (thumb to little finger stretched out) east of Vega.

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