Bird constellations abound in the night sky, including Cygnus, the majestic swan. Easy to find with its dazzling stars, it is one of the few constellations that look like its namesake and it is full of treasures. Visible in the Northern Hemisphere all summer long, there’s so much to see and even some things that can’t be seen. To locate Cygnus, start with the brightest star, Deneb, also the northeastern most and dimmest star of the Summer Triangle. The Summer Triangle is made up of three bright stars from three different constellations – read more about it in the September 2022 issue of Night Sky Notes. “Deneb” is an Arabic word meaning the tail. Then travel into the triangle until you see the star Albireo, sometimes called the “beak star” in the center of the summer triangle. Stretching out perpendicular from this line are two stars that mark the crossbar, or the wings, and there are also faint stars that extend the swan’s wings.
Have you ever wanted to take night time photos like you’ve seen online, with the Milky Way stretched across the sky, a blood-red Moon during a total eclipse, or a colorful nebula? Many astrophotos take hours of time, expensive equipment, and travel, which can intimidate beginners to astrophotography. However, anyone with a camera can take astrophotos; even if you have a just smartphone, you can do astrophotography. Seriously!
One hundred years ago, Albert Einstein first put forth his theory of General Relativity, which laid out the relationship between spacetime and the matter and energy present within it. While it successfully recovered Newtonian gravity and predicted the additional precession of Mercury’s orbit, the only exact solution that Einstein himself discovered was the trivial one: that for completely empty space. Less than two months after releasing his theory, however, the German scientist Karl Schwarzschild provided a true exact solution, that of a massive, infinitely dense object, a black hole.