continued from Starlit Sky: 19. Sagittarius
Let us now turn our attention to a graceful swan in the milky way. Locate the Great Bear. Now to the left of it will be a collection of stars that sort of look like a cross. That is the Cygnus constellation or the Hamsa Mandalam in the Indian Astronomical System. Its shape is visualised as a swan, seen in the sky during June to August. It is also called the Northern Cross.
The swan is seen in the middle of the Milky Way, so if viewed through a binoculars, there will be hundreds of stars visible. Such an awesome sight!
The brightest star in this constellation is Deneb. It has a magnitude of 1.25. It is the 19th brightest star in the sky. It forms a part of the Summer Triangle along with Vega and Altair. But more on that in the next edition of the series. Deneb is a blue supergiant.
Do you remember, that when we were discussed Pole Star, we saw that the Pole Star is not a constant and that it changes from one star to the another over time. Deneb is one of the pole stars. Around the year 9800 AD, Deneb will be the pole star.
Deneb has another peculiar specialty. On the 30th of January every year, Deneb rises with the Sun in the east and sets with the Sun in the west. Due to this it is not visible on 30th of January. On the 29th January it is seen clearly in the sky a few minutes after the sunset and on the 31st of Jan, it is seen in the early morning just before the sunrise. It is only on the 30th that it completely disappears from sight. Mahatma Gandhi passed away on the 30th of January 1948. Since Deneb also disappears on just that day, some scientists have named Deneb as Gandhi star in honour of Mahatma Gandhiji.
to be continued…….