Vega is the fifth most luminous star in the firmament (mag. 0.03), which is three times larger than the Sun. Located according to the latest estimates (carried out by the Hipparcos satellite) at 25.3 light years from Earth, this white star is of type A0 (9,200º K). Curiously, due to the precession movement, this celestial beacon pointed north 14,000 years ago, and will do so again in 12,000 years. It also points to the solar apex, i.e., the point toward which the solar system is heading at the incredible speed of 108,000 km/h.
Vega is also the main star of the small constellation Lyra (286 degrees square), a constellation that lies just at the western edge of the Milky Way. Its name dates back to Greek mythology. According to legend, Apollo gave the lyre invented by Hermes to his son Orpheus, who played it with such skill that wild animals were bewitched. Orpheus had a weakness for his wife Eurydice, and when she died, he went down to the underworld in search of her.
Once there he played the lyre, thus persuading the gods to release his beloved, which they did on one condition: that he would not look at Eurydice during the return journey. But the enamored Orpheus could not resist to see if his wife was indeed following him. Turning to check, his unhappy wife was snatched away by the gods and dragged back to the underworld. Orpheus met a most unpleasant end as he was dismembered after a group of women came on to him and were rejected by the grieving husband.
Such a sad story moved the gods that they raised his lyre to the heavens. Lyra has had other names. For example, in the Arab world it was known as the Vulture constellation, and we can still see some engravings showing a vulture holding a lyre in its leg. In fact, the Arabic name for the star Vega was Al Nasr al Waki, which means «vulture that swoops.»
I invite you all to read Matias’ post on the subject of the day
Finally, I encourage everyone to reflect on the concept of the day. No one else but us can re-signify our own being