Vega is the brightest star in the constellation Lyra the Harp. That’s why it’s often called the Harp Star. Observers in the Northern Hemisphere can see the star Vega come into view in the northeast in mid-evening in May. Look for this star in the very early evening in June – high overhead on autumn evenings – in the northwestern quadrant of the sky on December evenings.
The little constellation Lyra has some interesting features. Near Vega is Epsilon Lyrae, the famed “double-double” star. Between the Gamma and Beta stars is the famous Ring Nebula, visible in small telescopes.
Vega is one of three stars in an asterism – or noticeable star pattern – called the Summer Triangle to the early evening sky. The other two stars in the Triangle are Deneb and Altair. You can see the Summer Triangle in the evening beginning around June, through the end of each year.
Vega is the 5th brightest star visible from Earth, and the 3rd brightest easily visible from mid-northern latitudes, after Sirius and Arcturus. At about 25 light-years in distance, it is the 6th closest of all the bright stars, or 5th if you exclude Alpha Centauri, which is not easily visible from most of the Northern Hemisphere.
Vega’s distinctly blue color indicates a surface temperature of nearly 17,000 degrees F, making it about 7,000 degrees hotter than our sun. Roughly 2.5 times the diameter of the sun, and just less than that in mass, Vega’s internal pressures and temperatures are far greater than our sun, making it burn its fuel faster.