Cygnus- Look Straight up!

Last night was a good night!  Got to see Mars (Still just an orange fuzz ball).  Venus and finally- Saturn (Way cool.  Got to see the ring around it, but it was low on the horizon and as a result you end up looking through a lot of the atmosphere and it makes it hard to see much detail.  But considering it is 746 Million miles away from me that’s ok.  Best part is I got to see it from my front porch with my own telescope!

Like anything you build yourself, you take a lot of pride in it and it means so much more.  Sure we have awesome pictures of Saturn, but it’s not the same when you see it with your own device.  Finding it in the sky, aiming your scope at it and then trying to get it in your eyepiece, let alone keep it there as our earth turns can be very difficult, but very satisfying when you capture it.  Here is my favorite picture from Cassini spacecraft (orbiting Saturn).

Saturn.PNG

Back to Cygnus-  If you were to go outside and look straight up you would see Cygnus-  How do you know it is Cygnus, look for a Giant Cross in the sky.  The long part of the Cross (the part that would go in the ground) is the head of the bird.  And as you can see it fly’s toward the center of the Milky Way.

Sky and telescope Cygnus.PNG

 

A good way to learn the sky is stick to a constellation until you know it and you can spot it second nature.  What I mean by knowing the constellation- learn the Myth’s as well as the items in the constellation (Nebulas, Clusters, Meteors etc…).

So now I’m learning the Star Atlas associated with this constellation.

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 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.

 

Well, that’s all for now-

Roger

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