Observing Cygnus.

Riding the mainstream Milky Way,Cygnus is rich in clusters and nebulae. A visit to a dark site will show dark areas to Deneb up to Cepheus and a tear of dark nebulosity to it’s winding length. This dominating northern cross will last well into autumn. To see the bright Milky Way , dark rifts and tears  from a dark sky through Cygnus, halting beyond Deneb is one of the sights of the year.

A sweep with binoculars will show the very best concentration of clusters in glittering star fields. Quite a few of these can be seen from the edge of town,


Open clusters.

NGC 6819 (7.3), NGC 6910 (6 , the “rocking Horse”),NGC 71278 (9.7),NGC 6871,NGC 6811 ( half Moon size),NGC 7039 (7),NGC 7031, NGC 7086 (8.4),NGC 7062 (8.3),NGC 7063 (7), NGC 7082 (7.2),NGC 6997 (10),NGC 7044,NGC 7092 (4.6),NGC 6834 (7.8),NGC 6883 (8),IC 1369 (6, four stars),the vast M39, M29 ( “the power station) and a superb NGC 6866 (7.6).

All of these sit in the great background swathe of Milky Way.

Planetary nebulae.

NGC 7008 (fetus nebula), NGC 7026 (12), the bright NGC 7027(9), NGC 6905 (“the blue flash”, it does.),NGC 6837, NGC 7048 (11), NGC 6884 (12),NGC 6894 and the “blinking planetary” NGC 6826, really does blink ! if you need to share the eyeball magic of planetaries, this is the area !

Double stars.

Albireo (beta) a lovely famous orange / blue. Albireo is a handy star hopping post for Messier’s in adjacent constellations.

17 Cygni ( lovely group),(SAO 68827)

delta Cygni(2.5″ seperation , at x266 a white and silver green),(SAO 48796)

STTF 390 ( lovely triple in star field at x140), at 19h50.6m +38 43′

Psi Cygni (2.9″ seperation at x133 lovely yellow and blue), (SAO 32114)

STF 2624 (1.9″ close and difficult at x 260), at 20h03.5m +36 01′

SHJ314 ( lovely group at x40), at 20h06.0m +35 47′

S738 ( at x140 a lovely triple group), at 20h10.6m +33 38′

52 Cygni ( in the foreground of NGC 6860 a 6.4″ at x200, hard due to the fainter secondary),

STF 2741 (2.0″ at x160 ), (SAO 33034)

59 Cygni (at x200 a delicate triple),(SAO 50335)

61 Cygni ( the twin exciting “Piazzi’s flying double), a fast real motion pair.(SAO 70919) just a lovely sight , think they look like they’re on a trapeze !

two pairs of double doubles, S786 at 21h19.7m. +53 03′) and STTF 447, at 21h39.5m +41 44′

STF 2832 ( near equals at x48) at 21h49.2m +50 31′.

and a particular challenge (SAO 70505) at .9”, lambda Cygni.

The Nebulae.

Ideally on a clear Moonless night you should be able to spot some nebulosity,

NGC 6888 (” crescent”),NGC 7000 (“North American”) this can be seen by eye from darker sites,NGC 6914 ( next to IC 1318),IC 5067, IC 5070 (“pelican”),NGC 6992/5 ( “Eastern Veil”) and 6960-62 (” the Western veil”), IC 5146 (C19, “the cocoon nebula”).

My most easily found here is NGC 6995 with a UHC filter at low magnification. Darker skies will give you enough nebulosity to trace out in this area. The elusive Western Veil (Bridal Veil or Witch’s broom ) centred on 52 Cygni looks a fantastic sight from darker skies. It’s possible and thrilling to sweep around at low magnification  to catch the whole circle of nebulosity. The brighter eastern is visible from town on the darkest nights.

in addition, there’s plenty to explore here in area which Vulpecula, Lyra,Sagitta and Delphinus float the summer boat,

under clear skies ! Nick.

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