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Cygnus, The Swan Constellation

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. The constellation gets its name as it 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.

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.

The brightest star in Cygnus is Deneb. There are 1351 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. For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Cygnus Star List Page.

Cygnus Star and Deep Space Object Count

The number of stars that have been catalogued as part of the Hipparcos Star Catalogue from Cygnus is 3079. The number of stars that are of magnitude 6.0 or lower in the constellation is 137. The number of stars in the constellation that make up the outline is 8.

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.

Stars of Interest

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 can be located in the constellation is HIP 99439 which is located about 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 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

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.

Legend of the Constellation

Cygnus was the brother of Phaethon who when the latter fell into Eridanus, turned into a swan to search for the body. Zeus took pity and turned Cygnus into a swan in the skies.

Largest stars in our Galaxy

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.

Cygnus X-1 Black Hole

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).

Exoplanets in Cygnus

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.

Meteor Showers

There are 19 Meteor Showers that occur during the year within this constellation based on information gathered from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). The ones listed as the ones I've been able to find a date range for. For others if you have the time, you can visit the AMU site, obtains the SL value then use IMO tables to calculate the date. A lot of the Meteor Showers are weak and you need to do a lot of stargazing to spot them.

NameActivityPeak ActivityClosest Star
Kappa CygnidsAug 03 - Aug 25 Aug 17Kappa Cygni

Cygnus Facts

Is a Zodiac Sign No
Largest StarKY Cygni
Brightest StarDeneb
Area803.983 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky1.95%
Size Position16th
Hemisphere Northern
Site Exoplanet Count1351
Meteor Shower Count19
Nearest Star61 Cygni
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)HD 197037
Dimmest StarV1743 Cygni
Furthest StarHIP 99439
Bright Star Count137
Hipparcos Star Count3079
Main Star Count8
Messier Deep Space Object Count2
*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count2
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsCepheus

*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.

Cygnus Constellation Map

Cygnus Constellation Star Map

The map was generated using Night Vision, an awesome free application by Brian Simpson.

List of Deep Space Objects (Galaxies, Nebulas, Supernovas, etc) in Cygnus

NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
Messier 29 (NGC6913)Open Cluster7200+38:3220h 23m 9
Messier 39 (NGC7092)Open Cluster824.4000+48:2621h 32m 2
North America Nebula (NGC7000)Emission Nebula1,60044:31:4420h 59h 17
Veil NebulaSupernova Remnant147030:42:3020h 45h 38

Meteor Showers

Kappa Cygnids Meteor Shower

The Kappa Cygnids are a minor meteor shower that occur at about the same time as the Perseids meteor shower which are more frequent and brighter. The name comes from the fact that the radiant point is close to Kappa Cygni The star is within the boundaries of the constellation but is not part of the actual constellation.

Max Activity Date17 Aug
Activity PeriodAug 03 - Aug 25
Right Ascension277.5
Solar Longitude141
Alpha Radiant277.5
Zenith Hourly Rate3

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michael hillMonday, 11th September 2017 12:59:09 PM
do you please have a map where ngc6866 tabby star is please.