Facts About Vega

Vega is the brightest star in the north of the Lyra constellation and the 5th brightest star in the entire sky. Read on to find out some interesting facts about Vega, its history, and its future as one of the brightest stars in our galaxy.

Facts About Vega

Interesting Facts about Vega

  • Vega is the brightest star in the north of the Lyra constellation and the 5th brightest star in the entire sky.
  • Wega, Vega’s original name, was created from a semi-translation of “falling” or “swooping” in the Arabic language.
  • Vega can also be referred to as Alpha Lyrae because it’s the brightest star in the northern area of the Lyra constellation.
  • Alongside stars Arcturus and Sirius, Vega is one of the brightest stars in the Sun’s area. It is the 5th brightest star in the sky and the 2nd brightest star in the northern celestial hemisphere just behind Arcturus.
  • It is a tenth of the age of the Sun, and it is 2.1 times bigger.
  • Vega is just 25 light years away from our Sun.
  • Vega was the northern pole star until around 12.000 BC, which meant it was very important to ancient civilizations. Astronomers have referred to it as the second most significant star after our Sun.
  • Vega formed around 500 million years ago. It’s entire lifespan is about a billion years or one tenth of the lifespan of the Sun.
  • Vega is the 1st star to have it’s spectrum observed and recorded, and the 2nd star to be photographed by astronomers back in 1850.
  • It changes its brightness frequently. It’s known as a “variable star”.
  • The Sun rotates on its axis over around 28 days/ Vega spins at much greater speeds, and completes a rotation every 12 and a half hours. Due to it’s very fast spins, the star bulges at its equator which means it has variable temperatures across it’s photosphere.
  • Vega’s maximum temperatures are only at its poles, where it can be viewed from Earth.
  • It also appears to have a circumstellar disk of dust surrounding it as a result of collisions.
  • Vega will eventually be the northern pole star again in the future, but not until the year 13,727.
  • Vega is also one of the 1st stars ever to have its distance measured.
  • Vega seems to have a low quantity of different elements and a bigger atomic number than helium.
  • The star has an apparent magnitude of 0.03, but this can vary between 0.127 and 0.068.
  • Vega was of significant importance to ancient civilizations because it was the northern pole star. In around 12,000 BC, all the stars in the night sky seemed to move towards it because the Earth moves around as it rotates on its axis.
  • From the year 1943 onwards, Vega’s spectrum was one of the main anchor points used to classify other stars.
  • During the year 1979, Vega was the 1st main sequence star known to emit X-rays.
  • In the year 1983, Vega was known as the 1st star to have a circumstellar disk of dust surrounding it.
  • Vega is around 25 light years away from the Sun, situated at a vertex of far apart asterism known to astronomers as the Summer Triangle, which is made up of Vega and two other stars (Altair, in Aquila, and Deneb in Cygnus).
  • The star’s radius is around 1.8 million km in distance, which works out at around 2.5 times the size of the Sun, with a mass of around 2.1 times that of the Sun.
  • Vega’s fuel consumption will be greater than many other stars due to its large mass.
  • Vega’s polar regions are at a temperature of around 10.000 K , and the equator’s temperature stands at around 8.152 K.
  • 0.54% of Vega’s mass is made up from elements which are heavier than helium.
  • Eight or more stars exist in the same neighborhood as Vega, spaced out at a distance of around 10 light years.
  • Vega’s circumstellar disk of dust is comparable to the Kuiper Belt in similar in our Solar System and extends from around 330 to 815 AU.
  • Vega is an A-Class white main sequence star.
  • It reaches temperatures almost twice that of the Sun.
  • It shines around 40 times brighter than our Sun does.
  • It is suggested that due to Vega’s disk of dust, planets may form around it.
  • In about half a billion years time, Vega will evolve into a red giant.
  • It has demonstrated low-amplitude pulsations which have been associated with a Delta Scuti variable.
  • This type of star has different pulsations in it’s luminosity. It emits much more ultraviolet light than our Sun. A major feature is that it has a bulging equator due to it’s very fast rotation.

Final Thoughts

Vega is known as the brightest shining star in the northern constellation of Lyra. It’s only around 25 lightyears from our Sun and seems to be exhibiting planet-forming activity.

It is the 5th brightest star in the entire night sky and once served as the northern pole star, which was very significant to ancient civilizations. It will in the distant future become a northern pole star once more and will follow the natural life cycles of a star and become a red giant.

It is important to focus astronomy studies on constellations such as Vega to uncover the many mysteries of our universe.

Gordon Watts