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Cygnus, The Swan Constellation Facts and Mythology

Cygnus Constellation Star Map

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.

The distance to Cygnus is not calculable because all the stars that make up the constellation are at various distances. The best answer for distance to Cygnus is to calculate the average distance of the stars.

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.

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.

Cygnus Star Facts

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.

61 Cygni, Nearest Star

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.

HIP 99439, Furthest Star

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.

Deneb, Brightest Star in Cygnus

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.

V1743 Cygni, Dimmest Visible Star

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.

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.

Tabbys Star

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.

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.

Cygnus Mythology

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.

Meteor Showers Radiating from Cygnus

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.

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

List of Main Stars in Cygnus

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.

NameBayerDistance (Lt.Yr.)Right AscensionDeclinationSpectral TypeColour
DenebAlpha Cygni1411.9620h 41m 25.91+45d 16` 49.2A2IaWhite
AlbireoBeta Cygni A434.3119h 30m 43.29+27d 57` 34.9K3II+...Orange
Albireo BBeta Cygni B399.7119h 30m 45.40+27d 57` 55.0B8VBlue/White
SadrGamma Cygni1832.3820h 22m 13.70+40d 15` 24.1F8IbYellow/White
Al FawarisDelta Cygni164.9819h 44m 58.44+45d 07` 50.5B9.5IIIBlue/White
AljanahEpsilon Cygni72.7120h 46m 12.43+33d 58` 10.0K0IIIOrange
Zeta CygniZeta Cygni143.1221h 12m 56.18+30d 13` 37.5G8II SBYellow
Eta CygniEta Cygni134.9519h 56m 18.40+35d 05` 00.6K0IIIvarOrange
Iota2 Cygni121.3419h 29m 42.34+51d 43` 46.1A5VnWhite

Cygnus Facts


NameCygnus
AbbreviationCyg
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
Largest StarKY Cygni
Brightest StarDeneb
Dimmest StarV1743 Cygni
Furthest StarHIP 99439
Bright Star Count137
Hipparcos Star Count3079
Main Star Count9
Messier Deep Space Object Count2
*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count2
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsCepheus
Draco
Lyra
Vulpecula
Pegasus
Lacerta

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



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


NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
IC 5146Reflection/Emission Nebula3300 ly+47d 16` 0121h 53m 28m 7
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


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