Astronomy

Cygnus constellation

  • October 14, 2017

Cygnus is a prominent constellation in the northern sky. Its name means “the swan” in Latin, and it is also known as the Swan constellation.

Cygnus is associated with the myth of Zeus and Leda in Greek mythology. The constellation is easy to find in the sky as it features a well-known asterism known as the Northern Cross. Cygnus was first catalogued the by Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century.

Notable objects in the constellation include Cygnus X-1, a famous x-ray source, the bright stars Deneb and Albireo, the Fireworks Galaxy (NGC 6946), and several well-known nebulae: the Pelican Nebula (IC 5070), the North America Nebula (NGC 7000), the Crescent Nebula (NGC 6888), and the Veil Nebula (NGC 6960, 6962, 6979, 6992, and 6995).

Cygnus is the 16th largest constellation in the night sky, occupying an area of 804 square degrees. It lies in the fourth quadrant of the northern hemisphere (NQ4) and can be seen at latitudes between +90° and -40°. The neighboring constellations are Cepheus, Draco, Lacerta, Lyra, Pegasus, and Vulpecula.

Cygnus belongs to the Hercules family of constellations, along with Aquila, Ara, Centaurus, Corona Australis, Corvus, Crater, Crux, Hercules, Hydra, Lupus, Lyra, Ophiuchus, Sagitta, Scutum, Sextans, Serpens, Triangulum Australe, and Vulpecula.

Cygnus has 10 stars with known planets and contains two Messier objects: Messier 29 (NGC 6913) and Messier 39 (NGC 7092). The brightest star in the constellation is Deneb, Alpha Cygni, which is also the 19th brightest star in the sky, with an apparent magnitude of 1.25. There are two meteor showers associated with the constellation: the October Cygnids and the Kappa Cygnids.