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Vela, The Sails Constellation

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. The constellation gets its name as it 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.

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.

The brightest star in Vela is Al Suhail. There are 11 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Vela. For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Vela Star List Page.

Vela Star and Deep Space Object Count

The number of stars that have been catalogued as part of the Hipparcos Star Catalogue from Vela is 2234. The number of stars that are of magnitude 6.0 or lower in the constellation is 125. The number of stars in the constellation that make up the outline is 11.

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.

Stars of Interest

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 can be located in the constellation is HIP 40445 which is located about 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 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

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.

Legend of the Constellation

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

There are no major meteor showers that radiate from within this constellation.

Vela Facts

Is a Zodiac Sign No
Brightest StarAl Suhail
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
Dimmest StarHD 68895
Furthest StarHIP 40445
Bright Star Count125
Hipparcos Star Count2234
Main Star Count11
Messier Deep Space Object Count0
*Non-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.

Vela Constellation Map

Vela Constellation Star Map

The map was generated using Night Vision, an awesome free application by Brian Simpson.

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