One of the brightest stars in the night sky seems to have surface structures called starspots — a surprising finding for this particular star.

Torsten Böhm at the University of Toulouse in France and his colleagues used a telescope at France's Haute-Provence Observatory to look at Vega, a well-studied star that is roughly double the mass of the Sun. They found evidence of many faint spots: structures caused by magnetic-field changes that slightly alter the temperature in these areas. Vega is an 'A-type' star, a group thought to be incapable of generating magnetic fields and hence these spots.

The starspots could be linked to a weak surface magnetic field that was detected from Vega in 2009, the authors say.

Astron. Astrophys. 577, A64 (2015)