It’s easy to find Lyra, the harp, by first finding Vega — one of the brightest stars in Earth’s night sky. Look for Vega high overhead in mid-summer. Lyra looks like a small, lopsided square, with Vega just beside one of the corners of the square.
The legend of Lyra harp tells the story of Orpheus, who was given by the god Apollo. Orpheus’ music was sweeter than that of any other mortal man. It could soothe any savage, bring joy to the heart of the weary. It was even said that rivers changed course to stay near its beauty.
Orpheus married the lovely maiden Eurydice. But after their wedding, as she walked with her bridesmaids, she was bitten by a snake and died.
Orpheus was so stricken with grief that he journeyed to the underworld to win her return. His music not only gained him entry to Hades, it caused Pluto, the god of the underworld, to soften his heart and grant Orpheus’ wish. But there was one condition: Eurydice would follow Orpheus, who could not look back until both had gained the upper world. Orpheus followed his instructions — until he reached the surface. Before Eurydice could take the final steps into the light, he turned to gaze upon her. She vanished, with only one word to her love: Farewell.
Crazed with grief, Orpheus wandered the hills of Greece until he was murdered.
Lyra‘s leading light, Vega, is only about 25 light-years away, making it one of our closest neighbors. It shines pure white, which tells us that its surface is thousands of degrees hotter than the surface of the Sun.
Models of how stars age indicate that, like the Sun, Vega is about halfway through its “normal” lifetime — the time when it fuses the hydrogen atoms in its core to make helium. But stellar lifetimes aren’t all the same. Vega is probably around one-tenth the age of the Sun, so it has only a few hundred million years to go, versus billions of years for the Sun.lyra and bagpipes for sale at kiltmaster