Cygnus (Pronounciation:Cig-nus, Abbrev:Cyg, Latin:Cygni) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Cygnus takes up 803.983 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 1.95% of the night sky. Cygnus is the 16th largest in terms of size in the night sky.
The constellation name means The Swan . The constellation is one of the original constellations that was devised by the Ancient Greco-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy who lived between 90 A.D. and 168 A.D.
There are 9 stars that make up the main constellation. The hipparcos satellite scanned and detailed 3079 stars. There are 137 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the constellation on a very clear night sky.
Cygnus is not a member of the Zodiac group of twelve constellations that appear when the Sun sets. Cygnus is a northern hemispheric constellation which means it can't be seen easily or at all from the southern hemisphere.
There are 1352 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Cygnus. The current largest star so far identified in the constellation of Cygnus is KY Cygni.
There are 2 deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are 2 non-Messier deep space objects that are covered on this site and the list is below.
The image at the top right of this page was generated using Night Vision, a free to use and download application by Brian Simspon.
You can't just go to one location and arrive at the constellation because the constellation is made up of stars at different locations and different distances. The nearest main star in the constellation is at a distance of 72.71 light years and the furthest main star is a distance of 1,832.38 light years. The average distance to the main stars is 523.94 light years.
The caveat of these stars are that they are catalogued on this site. If you know of a star that is nearer or further then do let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the site. The stars mentioned are from the Hipparcos catalogue or have been added because of their special status.
The nearest star to Earth is 61 Cygni which is roughly about 11.37 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 197037 which is about 105.45 Light Years.
The furthest star that is located in the constellation is HIP 99439 and it is 326163.3 light years away from the Sun. The furthest figure is derived from either the 1997 or 2007 Hipparcos star catalogue parallax figure and it has been known to produce distances that are wrong.
The brightest star in Cygnus is Deneb and is located about 7.53 light years from the Sun. The star has a apparent magnitude of 1.25 but an absolute magnitude of -6.93 when the star is viewed from a distance of 10 Parsecs or 32.6 Light Years. The star is recognised as being the brightest in the constellation as it has the Bayer status of Alpha.
The dimmest star that can be seen in Cygnus with the naked eye is V1743 Cygni. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 6. The dimmest star that a person is able to see with their naked eye is 6.0 magnitude based on the table in the reference. Ref: University of Michigan.
Cygnus has three of the largest star in our galaxy, they are NML Cygni, BC Cygni, BI Cygni and KY Cygni. Of those stars, the largest is KY Cygni at a massive 1,420 times the radius of our star, the Sun. If any of those stars were in the centre of the solar system, we would be in side it. The largest currently recognised star is UY Scuti which is a massive 1,708 times the size of our Sun. Some sites will quote NML Cygni as the largest but they will be old sites and not been updated since UY Scuti became the largest.
KIC 8462852 better known as Tabby's Star is a star that has gathered much in the way of interest because of the way its brightness varies. Some people have speculated that the brightness is caused by aliens temporarily blocking and then unblocking the light. It has even been suggested that there is a Dyson Sphere surrounding the planet. Dyson Sphere is the theory that an advanced alien race could one day surround a star with an artifical structure and use it to gain power from.
The constellation contains one of the first recognised black holes in the galaxy and referred to as Cygnus X-1. The black hole is leeching gas and plasma from the nearby star, HD 226868, sometimes referred to with an E (HDE).
If you're wondering why Cygnus has proportionally more exoplanet/extrasolar planets within its borders then the reason is because of the Kepler Space Telescope. The Kepler mission was to concentrate on one area of space to which to monitor for planets and the area in Cygnus matched the requirements. The area had to been visible from the Earth throughout the year so it had to be near the North or South poles and be unaffected by Earths orbit. The Northern hemisphere was chosen because the scientists on the project were predominately based in the northern hemisphere, United States and to a less extent Europe.
The Kepler Space Telescope was a project by N.A.S.A. that launched on March 7th 2009. Although the main search area was in the constellation of Cygnus, it also studied areas in neighbouring constellations of Lyra and Draco.
Unless the star already had a name designation, the star would be called Kepler with a number afterwards so you can easliy identify which stars and planets it examined.
Cygnus can be seen in the northern hemisphere the whole year round, although that will greatly depend where in the northern hemisphere you are. It will partially disappear from February to June. The arm containing Zeta Cygni will always be visible at about 9pm all year round. It reaches highest in the sky about October before coming back down.
In Washington D.C., Cygnus will disappear completely from March and then not reappear until July but with Zeta Cygni still hidden from view.
In the southern hemisphere, say Sydney, Australia for example, Cygnus can only been seen for a short period between January and April near the horizon so you will need to get away from city lights.
Cygnus was the brother of Phaethon who when the latter fell into Eridanus, Cygnus turned into a swan to search for the body. Zeus took pity and turned Cygnus into a swan in the skies. Another story had Zeus disguised as a swan so that he could travel down to see Leda, the wife of a Spartan King.
There are 19 Meteor Showers that occur during the year within this constellation based on information gathered from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). The list below are major ones and which I have a date period for.
|Name||Activity||Peak Activity||Closest Star|
|June Epsilon Cygnids||14th June|
|Kappa Cygnids||Aug 03 - Aug 25||Aug 17||Kappa Cygni|
|lambda Cygnids||12th October|
|delta Cygnids||14th October|
The following list contains the stars that make up the constellation. For a larger list of stars in the entire constellation area, please visit the For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Cygnus Star List page.
|Name||Bayer||Distance (Lt.Yr.)||Right Ascension||Declination||Spectral Type||Colour|
|Deneb||Alpha Cygni||1411.96||20h 41m 25.91||+45d 16` 49.2||A2Ia||White|
|Albireo||Beta Cygni A||434.31||19h 30m 43.29||+27d 57` 34.9||K3II+...||Orange|
|Albireo B||Beta Cygni B||399.71||19h 30m 45.40||+27d 57` 55.0||B8V||Blue/White|
|Sadr||Gamma Cygni||1832.38||20h 22m 13.70||+40d 15` 24.1||F8Ib||Yellow/White|
|Al Fawaris||Delta Cygni||164.98||19h 44m 58.44||+45d 07` 50.5||B9.5III||Blue/White|
|Aljanah||Epsilon Cygni||72.71||20h 46m 12.43||+33d 58` 10.0||K0III||Orange|
|Zeta Cygni||Zeta Cygni||143.12||21h 12m 56.18||+30d 13` 37.5||G8II SB||Yellow|
|Eta Cygni||Eta Cygni||134.95||19h 56m 18.40||+35d 05` 00.6||K0IIIvar||Orange|
|Iota2 Cygni||121.34||19h 29m 42.34||+51d 43` 46.1||A5Vn||White|
|Is a Zodiac Sign||No|
|Area||803.983 sq. deg.|
|Percentage of Night Sky||1.95%|
|Site Exoplanet Count||1352|
|Meteor Shower Count||19|
|Nearest Star||61 Cygni|
|Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)||HD 197037|
|Largest Star||KY Cygni|
|Dimmest Star||V1743 Cygni|
|Furthest Star||HIP 99439|
|Bright Star Count||137|
|Hipparcos Star Count||3079|
|Main Star Count||9|
|Messier Deep Space Object Count||2|
|Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding Constellations||Cepheus|
*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.
|Cooling Tower Nebula (M29, NGC6913)||Open Star Cluster||7200||+38:32||20h 23m 9|
|Crescent Nebula||Wolf-Rayet / Nebula||4,500 Ly||38:27:14.71||20h 12h 32m 26|
|Fireworks Galaxy||HII Galaxy||22 Million LY||+60 09 13.24||20 34 52m 332|
|IC 5146||Reflection/Emission Nebula||3300 ly||+47d 16` 01||21h 53m 28m 7|
|Messier 39 (NGC7092)||Open Star Cluster||824.4000||+48:26||21h 32m 2|
|NGC 6826||Planetary Nebula||+50 31 30.250916761||19 44 48m 1500835472|
|NGC 6894||Planetary Nebula||+30 33 53.17||20 16 23m 965|
|NGC 7027||Planetary Nebula||+42 14 10||21 07 01m 8|
|North America Nebula (NGC7000)||Emission Nebula||1,600||44:31:44||20h 59h 17|
|Veil Nebula||Supernova Remnant||1470||30:42:30||20h 45h 38|
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