• Cyg - Cygnus the Swan

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    16 of 88

    Astronomical Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    Find the bowl of the big dipper and locate the two stars nearest the handle. A line running through these stars, tracing away from it above the open bowl. This line runs to Deneb, the tail of the constellation Cygnus the Swan. With wings abreast, and long neck outstretched, Cygnus flies along the milky river.

  • Lyr - Lyra the Harp

    IAU Constellation

    Size

    52 of 88

    Astronomical Regions

    Intro and Visual description

    To find Lyra, look for Vega, which forms the brightest point of the Summer Triangle. The summer triangle consists of Deneb in Cygnus the Swan, Altair in Aquila the Eagle, and bluish Vega in Lyra the Harp. Vega soars almost directly overhead in summer, while the bright stars of winter nights are hidden almost directly beneath our feet. Look for a small parallelogram of stars near Vega which forms the frame of the harp.

  • M57 - Ring Nebula

    Object image

    Permission

    In the late 18th century, Charles Messier (MESS-ee-ay) catalogued all the cloudy patches he could find in the sky so that he would not mistake them for comets. A cloudy patch in Lyra was the 57th nebula listed in his catalog. M57, now known as the Ring Nebula, appears like a little smoke ring peacefully wafting through the starry night. However, this doughnut of glowing hydrogen gas, speaks of the violent explosion of the outer layers of a once massive star. Near the center of the ring, only its hot bluish core remains intact.

  • Vultur the Falling Vulture

    Asterism Origin and History

    Vulture Volans (the flying vulture) refers to Aquila the Eagle. Vultur by itself, or "Falling Vulture," refers to Lyra.