Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/215

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203
ASTRONOMY WITH AN OPERA-GLASS.

distinctness by the stars Alpha (α), Epsilon (ε), Gamma (γ), Delta (δ), and Beta (β), together with some fainter stars lying along the main beam of the cross between β and γ. The star β, also called Albireo, is one of the most beautiful double stars in the heavens. The components are sharply contrasted in color, the larger star being golden-yellow,

PSM V31 D215 Cygnus aquila and the dolphin etc.jpg
Cygnus, Aquila, the Dolphin, Etc.

while the smaller one is a deep, rich blue. With a field-glass of 1·6-inch aperture and magnifying full six times I have sometimes been able to divide this pair, and to recognize the blue color of the smaller star. It will be found a severe test for such a glass.

About half way from Albireo to the two stars ζ and ε in Aquila, is a very curious little group consisting of six or seven stars in a straight row, with a garland of other stars hanging from the center. To see it best, take a field-glass, although an opera-glass shows it.

I have indicated the place of the celebrated star 61 Cygni in the map, because of the interest attaching to it as the nearest to us, so far as we know, of all the stars in the northern hemisphere, and with one exception the nearest star in all the heavens. Yet it is very faint, and the fact that so inconspicuous a star should be nearer than such brill-