α Cygni

Alpha Cygni, Deneb, is a bright (1.25) bluish-white supergiant 3000 light years away: binoculars.

Deneb has an estimated diameter of 100-200 times the Sun's diameter. If it replaced the Sun in our system, the distance to Earth would be cut in half.

The star represents the tail of the swan (although the original Arabic name translates as 'tail of the hen'). The star is the obvious starting point to the many interesting features of this constellation, as well as a convenient pointer to a number of other stars in the region.

Deneb forms a large triangle (sometimes called the Summer Triangle) with Altair (in Aquila) and Vega, in Lyra: The Summer Triangle.

The most obvious neighbour is the unusual North American Nebula, a large dark nebula three degrees east of Deneb. Seen well in binoculars and small telescopes, and even visible to the naked-eye under ideal conditions.

57 Cygni is at the 'head' or 'eye' of the Pelican Nebula, a faint 8 magnitude emission nebula that stretches between 56 and 57 Cygni. Much more difficult to observe than the North American Nebula, a small to medium telescope with a OIII filter is recommended.

One telescopic binary in this region is Otto Struve 414: 7.4, 8.9; 94, 9.9".

A binocular binary is just out of the viewing area; if you drop about a degree to the south the bright star nu Cyg will come into view. One degree northwest of nu is Struve (Appendix) 214: 6.4, 8.6; 185, 57.3".

One binocular field northwest gives you 31 and 30 Cygni, (31 being the primary). Click on the map for their details, as well as how to find the other binaries in this part of the constellation.


As Cygnus is in one of the richest regions of the heavens, there are many outstanding binaries here, however some will be quite hard to sort out amongst the many stars in the region. We offer a large selection to choose from, but bear in mind that some of the smaller binaries might require additional aids, such as star atlases, as well as lots of patience.

For your convenience here is an index of the binaries we list for Cygnus.

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1999-2014 by Richard Dibon-Smith.