As northern summer nights grow longer in August and September, the big constellation Cygnus lies nearly overhead before midnight and offers dozens of colorful nebulae and star clusters for visual observers and astrophotographers. The newly discovered Radcliffe Wave begins here. So does the dark and dusty Great Rift that splits the band of Milky Way in two. Cygnus also contains the brightest section of the northern Milky Way in the grand Cygnus Star Cloud, the most prominent star cloud north of the celestial equator. With a pair of low-power binoculars or with just your dark-adapted eyes, this billowing collection of millions of stars along an arm of our galaxy offers as beautiful a sight as any earthly work of art or nature [Read more…] about The Cygnus Star CloudShare This:
In my previous sky tour, I talked up the virtues of observing deep sky objects using fairly high magnifications with a reasonably big 8-inch f/10 telescope. This time around, let’s veer to the opposite extreme and take a tour of a series of celestial objects that are best seen using small telescopes, low magnifications, and wide fields of view.
Cygnus, the Swan, which is as emblematic of northern-hemisphere summer as any other constellation, holds two of the best examples of wide-field objects which are visible nearly overhead in late northern summer, and low over the northern horizon for southern-hemisphere observers [Read more…] about Deep Sky Tour: Nebulae in CygnusShare This:
While the Milky Way along the backbone of the constellation Cygnus, the Swan, offers many fine targets for stargazers, the wings of the constellation are also well worth exploring, especially in the months of July through October when the constellation lies near the meridian. In this short tour, let’s tiptoe through the western wing of the Swan and inspect the remarkable Blinking Planetary, NGC 6826, and a few more intriguing deep-sky objects [Read more…] about The Blinking Planetary NebulaShare This:
In the late days of northern summer, the constellation Cygnus lies nearly overhead in the mid-evening hours. A long, conspicuous constellation, Cygnus stretches along the diffuse arc of the Milky Way and is packed full of lovely deep-sky objects for stargazers of all skill levels.
Cygnus is an ancient star group and goes back at least 2,000 years. In Greek legend, Cygnus was a friend of Phaeton, the son of Helios, the Sun god. Phaeton met his demise while foolishly trying to drive his father’s sun-chariot across the sky. When Phaeton fell into the river Eridanus, Cygnus begged Zeus to turn him into a swan so he could fly down to retrieve his friend’s body. In doing so, however, he gave up his immortality. Zeus was touched by the selfless act of Cygnus in honoring his friend, so he cast the swan in a place of honor in the night sky [Read more…] about Touring the Backbone of Cygnus, the SwanShare This:
The bright star Sadr marks the chest of the constellation Cygnus, the Swan. Located in the direction of the northern Milky Way, this little patch of sky is packed with diffuse emission and dark nebulae that are part of the much larger Cygnus Molecular Cloud. This image by Terry Hancock shows the rich nebulosity in this region as captured from his backyard observatory in Fremont Michigan. He created this mosaic originally consisting of 5 panels and later cropped to make 4 panels using 187 individual frames and a total exposure time of over 18 hours. The total mosaic covers an area approximately 6.5 x 5.4 degrees. Equipment used, QHY11 Monochrome CCD and Takahashi E-180 [Read more…] about Nebulosity in the ‘Swan’s Chest’Share This: