Constellation guide to the 88 official constellations which divide up the sky. These constellations are used to help navigate the celestial sphere. The Constellations are patterns in the sky which have been to invented and have deep mythology behind them. Constellations cover massive areas in the sky and as such are very easy to find.
Some of the constellations have very familiar names, such as Leo, Gemini, Virgo and Aquarius. There are 12 of these constellations and they form the Zodiac. The Zodiac constellations follow the line of the ecliptic. The ecliptic is the apparent path of the Sun on the celestial sphere.
Cygnus is a northern constellation. It was one of Ptolemy's 48 constellations. Because of the pattern of its main stars it is sometimes known as the Northern Cross asterism.
In Greek mythology, the constellation represents several different legendary swans. Zeus disguised himself as a swan to seduce Leda, who gave birth to the Gemini, Helen of Troy, and Clytemnestra. Orpheus was transformed into a swan after his murder, and was said to have been placed in the sky next to his lyre (Lyra).
Cygnus contains several bright stars.
Deneb, a Cygni, is an extremely brilliant star, very prominent despite its distance (1 800 light years). The blue super giant forms the swan's tail, the upper end of the Northern Cross, and one of the vertices's of the so-called 'Summer Triangle'.
Albireo, ß Cygni, is at the swan's beak. It is one of the most beautiful double stars of the sky, a golden star easily distinguishable in a small telescope from its blue companion.
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