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A year ago, the Mira type variable chi Cygni produced one of its faintest ever maxima, reaching only about mag 6.5.
This was rather disappointing.
We know that Mira type variables become brighter in some cycles than in others and that the average peak is about mag 5.1. However, the 2014 peak was particularly disappointing given that we had seen an unusually bright peak - of mag 3.8 - in May 2013.
The signs are looking promising that the 2015 peak of chi Cygni, which is due in early August, will easily surpass that of 2014.
By mid May, chi Cygni had already become visible in larger binoculars and by early June had reached mag 8.0. As often happens, it paused around that brightness for a couple of weeks, but is now brightening again, with recent observations placing it around mag 7.5.
You can use this chart to follow the brightness changes of chi Cygni. The chart has north at the top and labels stars with which the brightness of chi Cygni can be compared.
More information about chi Cygni can be found in this guide
Added by: Tracie Heywood