• Wed. May 31st, 2023

Stunning blue dot visible in sky this month, here is how to see it


May 15, 2023

Vega, a star located 150 trillion miles away from Earth.—@skyandtelescope.org

Vega, a star located 150 trillion miles away from Earth, will illuminate the night sky with its mesmerizing blue glow throughout the month of May.

As the fifth brightest star in our sky, Vega will rise earlier each day in the northern hemisphere, appearing below the horizon by mid-evening. In the southern hemisphere, it will remain visible for up to four hours after midnight. Those residing in mid-northern latitudes can catch a glimpse of Vega in the early morning hours.

Vega holds significance in popular culture, particularly as the source of an extraterrestrial message in the book and film Contact. It is also known for being part of the Summer Triangle, alongside the stars Altair and Deneb.

Despite its association with summer, Vega remains visible for much of the year, appearing below the horizon for only about seven hours a day in mid-northern latitudes. However, it stays hidden for extended periods farther south but never sets in regions such as Alaska, northern Canada, and much of Europe.

Remarkably, Vega can even be observed with the naked eye in the presence of bright moonlight. Its prominence is further accentuated by its historical significance as the North Star in the past and its expected return to that status in approximately 12,000 years.

Astronomers have been fascinated by Vega and have made intriguing discoveries. It is believed to possess an asteroid belt similar to our own solar system, indicating the potential existence of rocky planets akin to Earth or Mars. The presence of multiple-planet systems around stars like Vega has become a common finding, suggesting the likelihood of undetected planets, potentially the size of Jupiter, orbiting within its vicinity.

Overall, Vega’s brilliance and scientific importance captivate astronomers as they continue to study its unique characteristics and unravel the mysteries of distant solar systems.

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