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The Vega Star: The Old - And Future - North Star

Christophe LEHENAFF

One of the most interesting stars in the summer skies is Vega. Vega is close to us at only 25 light years from the Sun.  It is the second brightest star seen from the Northern Hemisphere.

Because the Earth’s axis wobbles, the pole star slowly changes over thousands of years.   Vega was the pole star 12,000 years ago and it will again be the Pole star in 12,000 more years.

Vega was the first star photographed besides the Sun using the 15 inch refractor at Harvard College Observatory in July of 1850. 

Based on the Science Fiction novel by Carl Sagan, called  “Contact” and adapted to the later movie staring Jodi Foster, Vega was the origin of a signal from an extraterrestrial civilization. 

In 2013 astronomers discovered an asteroid belt surrounding Vega, which suggests it may have orbiting planets. It's also part of the large asterism called the Summer Triangle, which consists of Vega, Altair in Aquila, and Deneb in Cygnus. 

Vega can be found rising in the east after sunset and is the brightest star in the constellation Lyra the Harp.  By mid summer it is almost directly overhead