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This compact but prominent constellation of the northern sky contains Vega, the fifth-brightest star in the sky. Blue-white Vega is part of a large triangle of stars in northern summer skies called the Summer Triangle (the other two members are Deneb, in Cygnus, and Altair, in Aquila). Lyra, which represents the instrument played by Orpheus, lies on the edge of the Milky Way next to Cygnus. The Lyrid meteors radiate from a point near Vega around April 21-22 every year. the lyf

This compact but prominent constellation of the northern sky contains Vega, the fifth-brightest star in the sky. Blue-white Vega is part of a large triangle of stars in northern summer skies called the Summer Triangle (the other two members are Deneb, in Cygnus, and Altair, in Aquila). Lyra, which represents the instrument played by Orpheus, lies on the edge of the Milky Way next to Cygnus. The Lyrid meteors radiate from a point near Vega around April 21-22 every year. the lyf features of interest

BETA (b) LYRAE 5 A double star, easily resolved into cream and blue components by small telescopes. The brighter star (the cream one) is also an eclipsing binary that fluctuates between magnitudes 3.3 and 4.4 every 12.9 days. The two stars in this eclipsing binary are so close that gas from the larger one falls toward the smaller companion, and some of it spirals off into space.

delta (8) LYRAE 2 1 A wide double, divisible with binoculars or good eyesight. It consists of a red giant of 4th magnitude and an unrelated blue-white star of 6th magnitude.

epsilon (s) LYRAE 1 5 The finest quadruple star in the sky. Binoculars show it as a neat pair of 5th-magnitude white stars. Each of these has a closer companion that is brought into view by telescopes of 2.5 or 3 in (60 or 75 mm) aperture with high magnification. All four stars are linked by gravity and are in long-term orbit around each other.

zETA (Z) LYRAE 1 5 A double star with components of 4th and 6th magnitudes, easily divided by binoculars or small telescopes.

M57 (THE ring nebula) 5 S A planetary nebula that looks like a smoke ring. The Hubble Space Telescope has revealed that the "ring" is in fact a cylinder of gas thrown off from the central star.

northern hemisphere northern hemisphere

the ring nebula

Through small telescopes, the ring appears as a disk larger than that of the planet Jupiter. Larger apertures are needed to make out the central hole. Photographs and CCD images like this emphasize colors that are not apparent visually.

Cygnus Cygni (Cyg)

northern

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