α Vulpeculae

Alpha Vulpeculae is a red giant, the brightest star in this faint constellation with a visual magnitude of 4.4. It is also the only Bayer star in the constellation (that is, having a Greek label).

Alpha Vulpeculae is easily found with the naked eye, 3º due south of Albireo (beta Cygni): binoculars.

We show it as an outlier, just to the north of our binocular view, for a curious aspect of Vulpecula is the asterism see on the southern edge of your field. It's known as ‘The Coathanger’ for an obvious reason; 4 Vulpecula (5.1 magnitude) is the brightest star in this grouping, nicely seen in binoculars.

North-northwest of 9 Vulpeculae nearly one degree is Struve 2540AB, with a pleasing colour contrast–white and blue: 7.5, 9.2; 146º, 5.1".


One binocular field west and you'll find 1 and 2 Vulpeculae, along with three fine Struves all in a row: binoculars.
     Struve 2445AB, two blueish-white stars: 7.3, 8.6; 262º, 12.3".
     Struve 2455AB, white and blue: 7.4, 9.4; 27º, 9.5".
     Struve 2457, yellow and blueish-white: 7.5, 9.5; 200º, 10.4".


Now either move east two fields and northeast half a field, or start from the brightest star in the region, beta Cygni, and with this star centred move two fields southeast: binoculars.

Both 13 Vulpeculae and 16 Vulpeculae are fairly close binaries:
     13 Vul (Dju 4): 4.6, 7.4; 245º, 1.4".
     16 Vul (Otto Struve 395): 5.8, 6.2; 126º, 0.8".

In the same field, just south of 14 Vulpeculae, is the noted planetary nebula known as the Dumbbell Nebula (M27).
     M27 is regarded by many as the best planetary nebula in the heavens. A medium sized telescope reveals the nebula's two halves stretching out north and south, along with a central star.

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