Beta Cygni (also known as Albireo) is the third brightest star in the constellation Cygnus. Since Cygnus is "the swan", and Albireo is located at the head of the swan, it is sometimes called the "beak star". It also forms the "Northern Cross" along with Deneb, Delta Cygni and Eta Cygni.

In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Brothers", Beta Cygni was the site of a planetary mapping survey by the USS Fearless - one of the ships that received the Kosinski experimental warp drive upgrades


Beta Cygni is actually 385 light years away from the Earth. With bare eyes Albireo seems like a single star. However, when viewed with a telescope it readily resolves into a double star, one yellow (apparent magnitude 3.1), the other blue (apparent magnitude 5.1). The two components provide one of the best contrasting double stars in the sky due to their different colors.

Although designated a "beta" star in the constellation, it is actually fainter than Gamma Cygni.


The two component stars of
Beta Cygni

The USS Fearless (left) and Enterprise-D