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The Question

(Submitted April 06, 1998)

I'm a junior in High School and I am trying to find information about the star Vega. I know the basics but I just want to know more about this star.

The Answer

There are two good web sites for getting information about specific stars:

http://www.astro.wisc.edu/~dolan/constellations/

For more detailed information about particular stars (e.g. a star's distance, magnitude, temperature, etc.), see

http://www.astro.utoronto.ca/~garrison/oh.html

Vega is of particular interest because it was one of the first stars for which a disk of dust was discovered surrounding a star. An infrared excess was discovered about the star in 1983 when the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) observed it. This is indicative of dust surrounding the star, and planets might form from this disk. Vega is also important because it is used a standard calibration star in optical astronomy. It is used to calibrate the color scale for stars.

Jim Lochner, Steve Bloom and Gail Rohrbach
for Ask an Astrophysicist

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