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Looking up from the plaza outside the main entrance of 1981 McGill College Avenue, viewers see a slice of sky framed on three sides by the office towers. The constellation Cygnus appears in this opening from June to October. The text engraved on the installation’s 13’ X 5’ slab of granite provides background on the constellation, its largest star Deneb, the Milky Way, and Cygnus X-1, a presumed black hole: Cygnus, the Northern Cross, was considered one of the many guises of the mythical god Zeus. The constellation can easily be seen from May to November drifting along the backdrop of the Milky Way. The Milky Way is our view of the Galaxy as we look out along its disk from within. Though it stretches across the sky, its faint glow can no longer be seen from Montreal. The star Deneb lies 1,800 light-years away. It is a pale- blue supergiant that measures 116 solar diameters and shines 80,000 times brighter than the sun. If centered in our solar system, Deneb would fill one third of the sky.   Cygnus X-1 is a powerful X-ray source thought to have a black hole at its center. Black holes are objects so massive not even light can escape their gravitational fields.”
Cygnus installation design by Sophie Desrosiers; stonework by Smith Bros. Granite; photos by Elliot Selick.