Constellations of Beaufort County

The constellation's brightest star is Deneb - an Arabic word that means "the tail." Deneb - the tail of the swan - marks the top of the cross. The swan's outstretched wings form the horizontal bar of the cross, while the head of the swan - a double star called Albireo - is the bottom of the cross.

Although it lies about 1,500 light-years from Earth, Deneb shines brightly in our night sky because it's a white supergiant - a star that's much larger, hotter, and brighter than the Sun. Deneb is the northeastern point of a star pattern called the Summer Triangle.

If you use binoculars to scan the area between the two bright stars that define the swan's eastern wing, you'll see the remnant of a supernova - a faint, incomplete ring of light called the Cygnus Loop.