Cygnus the Swan


Cygnus the swan is an easily recognized constellation. One story tells us that Cygnus represents Orpheus who was changed into a swan at his death and placed beside his magic harp (Lyra) in the sky. Another story says this represents Cygnus, son of the King of the Ligurians who was stricken with grief over the death of his friend Phaethon. Touched by this, Apollo took pity on him, changed him into a swan and placed him among the stars.

For the Observer

Alpha Cygni, Deneb (20h41m +45°17') has a magnitude of 1.3 and is a blue-white supergiant class A2 star. It is about 1600 light years distant. If Deneb was as close to us as the nearest star, Proxima Centauri (4.4 light years) Deneb would be as bright as the full moon in our sky! Deneb's luminosity is over 70,000 times greater than the Sun and is estimated to be 25 times more massive. Deneb has a transit date of August 2nd.

Beta Cygni, Albireo (19h28m.7 +27°51') has a magnitude of 3.1 and is a yellow class K3 star about 410 light years distant. Albireo is said to be one of the most beautiful double stars in the sky. The companion is 5.5 magnitude blue class B8 star.

Gamma Cygni, Sadr (20h22m +40°15') has a magnitude of 2.2 and is a white supergiant class F8 star. It is about 800 light years distant. Sadr is a binary system, the companion has a magnitude of 5.1 and is a blue-white star. Sadr has a transit date of September 12.

The Stars of Spring

Delta Cygni (19h45m +45°08') has a magnitude of 2.9 and is a blue-white supergiant class B9 star. It is about 110 light years distant. The star is a binary, the companion being a smaller blue-white main sequence star of magnitude 6.5

M29 (NGC6913) (20h22m.2 +38°21') galactic cluster with a magnitude of 7.0. It lies about 7200 light years distant.

M39 (NGC709f2) (21h30m.4 +48°13') is a galactic cluster rather loose. It has a magnitude of 5.4 and lies about 900 light years distant.

Copyright © 1995 - 2003
Kathy Miles, Author, and Chuck Peters, Systems Administrator