CYGNUS AND LYRA

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Summer is coming! And with summer the summer the constellation of Cygnus the swan also known as the northern cross is becoming prominent on the sky embedded in the milky way our home galaxy.

Cygnus was among the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and it remains one of the 88 modern constellations.

Cygnus contains Deneb (ذنب, translit. ḏanab, tail) – which is one of the brightest stars in the night sky and is the most distant first-magnitude star as its „tail star“ and one corner of the Summer Triangle.
One of the stars of this association, NML Cygni, is one of the largest stars currently known. The constellation is also home to Cygnus X-1, a distant X-ray binary containing a supergiant and unseen massive companion that was the first object widely held to be a black hole. Many star systems in Cygnus have known planets.

For me Cygnus serves as orientation point in the summer sky on the northern hemisphere as it is visible north (-east) and the swan is flying to the south which allows night navigation in outdoor sports when Polaris (Ursa major/Ursa minor/Cassiopeia) cannot be found for any reason.

Lyra is a smaller constellation and it contains Vega as one of the brightest stars on the night sky and can thus easily be identified.

In Greek mythology, Lyra represents the lyre of Orpheus. Made by Hermes from a tortoise shell, given to Apollo as a bargain, it was said to be the first lyre ever produced. Orpheus’s music was said to be so great that even inanimate objects such as trees, streams, and rocks could be charmed. Joining Jason and the Argonauts, his music was able to quell the voices of the dangerous Sirens, who sang tempting songs to the Argonauts.

At one point, Orpheus married Eurydice, a nymph. While fleeing from an attack by Aristaeus, she stepped on a snake that bit her, killing her. To reclaim her, Orpheus entered the Underworld, where the music from his lyre charmed Hades. Hades relented and let Orpheus bring Eurydice back, on the condition that he never once look back until outside. Unfortunately, near the very end, Orpheus faltered and looked back, causing Eurydice to be left in the Underworld forever. Orpheus spent the rest of his life strumming his lyre while wandering aimlessly through the land, rejecting all marriage offers from women.

LOGBOOK: This image is a composite of some 25x 30s shots with my Canon M50 at roughly 30mm. Guiding was achieved using a very small guider that takes the camera piggyback and is my mobile kit I can carry for hiking/motorcycling adventures.

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