Vega has been extensively studied by astronomers, leading it to be termed "arguably the next most important star in the sky after the Sun." Historically, Vega served as the northernpole star around 12,000 BCE and will do so again at 13,727 CE when the declination will be +86°14'. Vega was the first star other than the Sun, to have its photograph taken and the first to have its spectrum photographed. It was also one of the first stars to have its distance estimated through parallax measurements. Vega has served as the baseline for calibrating the photometric brightness scale, and was one of the stars used to define the mean values for the UBV photometric system.
In terms of years, Vega is only about a tenth the age of the Sun, but it is evolving so quickly that it has already approached the midpoint of its life expectancy, as has the Sun. It has an unusually low abundance of the elements with a higher atomic number than that of helium. Vega is also a suspected variable star that may vary slightly in magnitude in a periodic manner. It is rotating rapidly with a velocity of 274 km/s at the equator. This is causing the equator to bulge outward because of centrifugal effects, and, as a result, there is a variation of temperature across the star's photosphere that reaches a maximum at the poles. From Earth, Vega is being observed from the direction of one of these poles.