The Northern Cross: A Star Formation For Christmas

Learn when and where to see this bright asterism that lies within the Milky Way galaxy.

The Northern Cross is an asterism formed by the brightest stars in the constellation Cygnus the Swan.

Where Can You Find The Northern Cross?

To locate the Northern Cross, or Cygnus the Swan, first try to find their brightest star, Deneb. Deneb sits at the top of the Cross and is a star name you may recognize — it’s one of the three bright stars of the Summer Triangle. This can help you locate the Northern Cross, which resides within the Summer Triangle asterism.

The Northern Cross resides within the Milky Way galaxy.

Of course, the “lines” are drawn here to illustrate the cross, but you can imagine they’re there once you locate the bright stars Deneb at the top and Albireo at the bottom.

During the late summer and early fall, the Northern Cross appears high overhead at sundown, but by early winter it appears to stand almost upright in the northwestern sky as darkness falls, almost like a celestial religious symbol of the Christmas season.

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