α Lyrae

Alpha Lyrae is Vega, the fifth-brightest star in the heavens at a visual magnitude of 0.03; the second brightest star (after Arcturus) in the Northern Hemisphere.

Vega is very high in the skies around the first of July. It makes what is termed The Summer Triangle with Deneb (Cygnus) and Altair (Aquila).

Vea was the Pole Star about 12,000 BC, and will be again in another 12,000 years. Vega is destined to live a comparaively short life, only about a tenth of the Sun's life, or about a billion years; half of which it has already lived. It will eventually become a red giant, and then a white dwarf.

It has long been suspected that a planetary system may be associated with Vega, but this has never been confirmed.

Vega is found in an interesting region, with three nearby binary systems suitable for binoculars.
     Delta1 and delta2 Lyrae form an optical binary, with a fine colour contrast, a bluish star and a red variable: 5.6, 9.9; 20º, 175.3".
     Epsilon1 and epsilon2 Lyrae is a splendid quadruple system, the famous ‘Double Double’. The two brightest members are easily split with binoculars (or even with the naked eye if one has very sharp eyes):
      epsilon1 (Struve 2382)AB: 5, 2, 6.1; 346º, 2.3".
      epsilon2 (Struve 2383)AD: 5.3, 5.4; 78º, 2.4".
     Zeta1 and zeta2Lyrae also form a binocular binary, two yellow stars; AD: 4.3, 5.6, 149º, 41.1". (components B and C are 15.8 and 13.3 magnitudes respectively)

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