Universe Guide

Vela, The Sails Constellation

Vela Constellation Star Map

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 11 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Vela.

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.

Distance to Vela

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.

Vela Star Facts

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.

Luhman 16, Vela's Nearest Star

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.

HIP 40445, Vela's Furthest Star

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.

Regor, Brightest Star in Vela

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.

HD 68895, Vela's Dimmest Visible Star

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.

Vela Mythology

One of three constellations when Nicolas Louis de Lacaille broke up the Argo Navis. The other two constellations are Carina and Puppis.

Meteor Showers Radiating from Vela

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.

NameActivityPeak ActivityClosest Star
Gamma Velids1-17 Jan5/8 JanRegor

List of Main Stars in Vela

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.

NameBayerDistance (Lt.Yr.)Right AscensionDeclinationSpectral TypeColour
RegorGamma Velorum1117.0008h 09m 31.96-47d 20` 11.8WC8 + O9I
AlsephinaDelta Velorum80.5508h 44m 42.20-54d 42` 30.8A1VWhite
Kappa VelorumKappa Velorum572.2209h 22m 06.83-55d 00` 38.5B2IVBlue/White
SuhailLambda Velorum544.5109h 07m 59.78-43d 25` 57.4K4Ib-IIOrange
Mu VelorumMu Velorum117.1610h 46m 46.12-49d 25` 12.5G5III SBYellow
Omicron VelorumOmicron Velorum493.4408h 40m 17.61-52d 55` 19.1B3IVBlue/White
Tseen KeePhi Velorum1591.0409h 56m 51.75-54d 34` 04.1B5IbBlue/White
Psi VelorumPsi Velorum61.3709h 30m 42.11-40d 28` 00.8F2IVYellow/White
T Velorum7090.5108h 37m 40.83-47d 21` 43.1G0IIYellow
P Velorum87.5410h 37m 18.26-48d 13` 32.2A3m+...White
Q Velorum1331.2810h 08m 56.25-51d 48` 40.5B3IVBlue/White

Vela Facts

Is a Zodiac Sign No
Brightest StarRegor
Area499.649 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky1.21%
Size Position32nd
Hemisphere Southern
Site Exoplanet Count11
Meteor Shower Count11
Nearest StarLuhman 16
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)HD 85512
Brightest StarRegor
Dimmest StarHD 68895
Furthest StarHIP 40445
Bright Star Count125
Hipparcos Star Count2234
Main Star Count11
Messier Deep Space Object Count0
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsAntlia

*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.

List of Deep Space Objects (Galaxies, Nebulas, Supernovas, etc) in Vela

NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
NGC 2547Open Star Cluster-49:168h 10m 7
NGC 3256Peculiar Galaxy100,000,000-43:54:1310h 27h 51m 3
Pencil NebulaSupernova Remnant815 -45:54:5709h 00h 17

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