Vela (Pronounciation:Vee-lar, Abbrev:Vel, Latin:Velorum) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Vela takes up 499.649 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 1.21% of the night sky. Vela is the 32nd largest in terms of size in the night sky.
The constellation name means The Sails . It was not one of the original constellations that had been devised by Ptolemy, instead it was created by Abbé Nicolas Louis de Lacaille years later.
There are 11 stars that make up the main constellation. The hipparcos satellite scanned and detailed 2234 stars. There are 125 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the constellation on a very clear night sky.
Vela is not a member of the Zodiac group of twelve constellations that appear when the Sun sets. Vela is a southern hemispheric constellation which means it can't be seen easily or at all from the northern hemisphere.
There are no deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are no non-Messier deep space objects in this constellation that are covered at present on this site.
The image at the top right of this page was generated using Night Vision, a free to use and download application by Brian Simspon.
You can't just go to one location and arrive at the constellation because the constellation is made up of stars at different locations and different distances. The nearest main star in the constellation is at a distance of 61.37 light years and the furthest main star is a distance of 7,090.51 light years. The average distance to the main stars is 1,189.69 light years.
The caveat of these stars are that they are catalogued on this site. If you know of a star that is nearer or further then do let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the site. The stars mentioned are from the Hipparcos catalogue or have been added because of their special status.
The nearest star to Earth is Luhman 16 which is roughly about 6.516 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 85512 which is about 36.39 Light Years.
The furthest star that is located in the constellation is HIP 40445 and it is 326163.3 light years away from the Sun. The furthest figure is derived from either the 1997 or 2007 Hipparcos star catalogue parallax figure and it has been known to produce distances that are wrong.
The brightest star in Vela is Regor and is located about 9.52 light years from the Sun. The star has a apparent magnitude of 1.75 but an absolute magnitude of -5.92 when the star is viewed from a distance of 10 Parsecs or 32.6 Light Years. The star is only recognised as being Gamma Velorum rather than having Alpha status.
The dimmest star that can be seen in Vela with the naked eye is HD 68895. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 6. The dimmest star that a person is able to see with their naked eye is 6.0 magnitude based on the table in the reference. Ref: University of Michigan.
There are 11 Meteor Showers that occur during the year within this constellation based on information gathered from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland). The list below are major ones and which I have a date period for.
|Name||Activity||Peak Activity||Closest Star|
|Gamma Velids||1-17 Jan||5/8 Jan||Regor|
The following list contains the stars that make up the constellation. For a larger list of stars in the entire constellation area, please visit the For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Vela Star List page.
|Name||Bayer||Distance (Lt.Yr.)||Right Ascension||Declination||Spectral Type||Colour|
|Regor||Gamma Velorum||1117.00||08h 09m 31.96||-47d 20` 11.8||WC8 + O9I|
|Alsephina||Delta Velorum||80.55||08h 44m 42.20||-54d 42` 30.8||A1V||White|
|Kappa Velorum||Kappa Velorum||572.22||09h 22m 06.83||-55d 00` 38.5||B2IV||Blue/White|
|Suhail||Lambda Velorum||544.51||09h 07m 59.78||-43d 25` 57.4||K4Ib-II||Orange|
|Mu Velorum||Mu Velorum||117.16||10h 46m 46.12||-49d 25` 12.5||G5III SB||Yellow|
|Omicron Velorum||Omicron Velorum||493.44||08h 40m 17.61||-52d 55` 19.1||B3IV||Blue/White|
|Tseen Kee||Phi Velorum||1591.04||09h 56m 51.75||-54d 34` 04.1||B5Ib||Blue/White|
|Psi Velorum||Psi Velorum||61.37||09h 30m 42.11||-40d 28` 00.8||F2IV||Yellow/White|
|T Velorum||7090.51||08h 37m 40.83||-47d 21` 43.1||G0II||Yellow|
|P Velorum||87.54||10h 37m 18.26||-48d 13` 32.2||A3m+...||White|
|Q Velorum||1331.28||10h 08m 56.25||-51d 48` 40.5||B3IV||Blue/White|
|Is a Zodiac Sign||No|
|Area||499.649 sq. deg.|
|Percentage of Night Sky||1.21%|
|Site Exoplanet Count||11|
|Meteor Shower Count||11|
|Nearest Star||Luhman 16|
|Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)||HD 85512|
|Dimmest Star||HD 68895|
|Furthest Star||HIP 40445|
|Bright Star Count||125|
|Hipparcos Star Count||2234|
|Main Star Count||11|
|Messier Deep Space Object Count||0|
|Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding Constellations||Antlia|
*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.
|NGC 2547||Open Cluster||-49:16||8h 10m 7|
|NGC 3256||Peculiar Galaxy||100 Million LY||-43:54:13||10h 27h 51m 3|
|Pencil Nebula||Supernova Remnant||815 Ly||-45:54:57||09h 00h 17|
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