Oh Vega

Oh Vega, seeing you tonight reminded me of a side lined idea to write about wonders of the night sky. Calling it “baby steps”, and seen as my way of sparking others to gaze at the sky – I remain hopeful a cosmic signpost or two will cast eyes upwards. I can’t force cosmic awe or expect my enthusiasm to resonate with anyone not inclined. Daunting probability of success never stopped me before – if a single person reads this and takes it upon themselves to locate Vega, that’s good enough for me.


Vega is my favorite summer star.  5th brightest in the Northern Hemisphere – dependable, comforting and easy to find. In early evening look to the northeast, Vega jumps at you, unhindered by four faint companions making up constellation Lyra.  More noticeable are Deneb and Altair who join Vega to make the “summer triangle”.

Greek mythology spoke of constellation Lyra as the harp played by Orpheus. When Orpheus played, no mortal or God could look away. Vega is often called the Harp Star.

Vega might not be the brightest star – a distinction held by Sirius – but it’s one of the easiest to spot. Finding Sirius requires a little orientation – setting eyes on Orion’s belt and drawing a downward left line. Vega needs no introduction, it simply pops out of the sky, politely reigning over the horizon.

Nothing would make me happier than knowing someone somewhere noticed Vega and thought “I know you – your name is Vega, pleased to make your acquaintance”.




11 thoughts on “Oh Vega

  1. Don’t count me as someone who has never contemplated the night sky.

    I remember vividly when I was maybe around 8 or 9 looking at the night sky at my grandfather’s place in the country.

    A very cold winter night…
    All those stars!

    There had to be something there!
    I got interested in astronomy by never pursued this.
    I have always admired stars and people who do.

    Now that’s a recollection isn’t Notes?

  2. Hey Notes, I went to look for Vega after reading your post! – your mission accomplished. Not sure if I could see it but confirmed it on my phone ( Google Sky Map). Vega is OK but my star set is Ursa Major, as you know. Also quite fond of Jupiter’s cohorts, Castor and Pollux, the twin brothers of mythology.

    Did you know that although twins, only Pollux, son of Zeus was immortal? When Castor was killed, Pollux asked Zeus if they could share their immortality so they could stay together. And so they were transformed into the constellation Gemini which is my birth sign. Sailors look to Gemini to invoke favourable winds.

    • You might not remember but you and I saw and talked about Vega as we left work late one night last summer. Mid horizon to the east – incredibly bright.

      I haven’t forgotten your fondness for Ursa Major and the twins. You’re the only other person I know with a favorite spot in the sky – that in itself puts a silly grin on my face 🙂 I had no idea Castor was mortal – thanks for the lesson 🙂

  3. Loved this post — and too funny — last night my husband’s app on his Ipad showed me all the constellations — and Vega! Now we know where it is and will be looking for it each night.

  4. Who sang …. “Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, save it for a rainy day?” For a bonus point, how about “Would you like to swing on a star? Carry moonbeams home in a jar” ? No Googlers please – just old people.

      • Well done Notes!

        Yes, indeed – Catch a Falling Star was Perry Como’s last No.1 hit song in 1957. I remember it very well in England at that time.

        No points I’m afraid for the second song. I don’t think Dean Martin ever recorded it. It was Bing Crosby’s song from the start, recorded in 1944 and featured in his film of the same year, Going My Way. It won an Academy Award as Best Original Song in that year.

        The version I first heard was by Big Dee Irwin in 1963. It was quite a hit on the UK charts, reaching No. 7. There have been many covers of the song recorded over the years.

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