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Suhail (Lambda Velorum) Star Facts

Suhail Facts

  • Suhail is a pulsating supergiant star that can be located in the constellation of Vela. The description is based on the spectral class.
  • Suhail is a main star of the constellation outline.
  • Based on the spectral type (K4Ib-II) of the star, the star's colour is orange to red .
  • Suhail is the 64th brightest star in the night sky and the 3rd brightest star in Vela based on the Hipparcos 2007 apparent magnitude. The star can be seen with the naked eye, that is, you don't need a telescope/binoculars to see it.
  • Using the most recent figures given by the 2007 Hipparcos data, the star is 544.51 light years away from us. Distance

Suhail's Alternative Names

Lambda Velorum (Lam Vel) is the Bayer Classification for the star. The Bayer Classification was created by Johann Bayer in 1603. The brightest star in the constellation is normally given the Alpha designation, there are exceptions such as Pollux which is Beta Geminorum.

The Id of the star in the Yale Bright Star Catalogue is HR3634. HIP44816 is the reference name for the star in the Hipparcos Star Catalogue. The Id of the star in the Henry Draper catalogue is HD78647.

Suhail has alternative name(s) :- Al Suhail, lam Vel.

More details on objects' alternative names can be found at Star Names .

Location of Suhail

The location of the supergiant star in the night sky is determined by the Right Ascension (R.A.) and Declination (Dec.), these are equivalent to the Longitude and Latitude on the Earth. The Right Ascension is how far expressed in time (hh:mm:ss) the star is along the celestial equator. If the R.A. is positive then its eastwards. The Declination is how far north or south the object is compared to the celestial equator and is expressed in degrees. For Suhail, the location is 09h 07m 59.78 and -43° 25` 57.4 .

Radial Velocity and Proper Motion of Suhail

Proper Motion

All stars like planets orbit round a central spot, in the case of planets, its the central star such as the Sun. In the case of a star, its the galactic centre. The constellations that we see today will be different than they were 50,000 years ago or 50,000 years from now. Proper Motion details the movements of these stars and are measured in milliarcseconds. The star is moving 13.52 ± 0.09 milliarcseconds/year towards the north and -24.01 ± 0.11 milliarcseconds/year east if we saw them in the horizon.

Radial Velocity

The Radial Velocity, that is the speed at which the star is moving away/towards the Sun is 17.60000 km/s with an error of about 0.30 km/s . When the value is negative then the star and the Sun are getting closer to one another, likewise, a positive number means that two stars are moving away. Its nothing to fear as the stars are so far apart, they won't collide in our life-time, if ever.

Physical Properties of Suhail

Suhail Temperature and Colour

Based on the star's spectral type of K4Ib-II , Suhail's colour and type is orange to red supergiant star. The star has a B-V Colour Index of 1.66 which means the star's temperature is about 3,595 Kelvin. The temperature was calculated using information from Morgans @ Uni.edu.

Suhail Radius

Suhail estimated radius has been calculated as being 151.20 times bigger than the Sun. The Sun's radius is 695,800km, therefore the star's radius is an estimated 105,203,263.62.km. If you need the diameter of the star, you just need to multiple the radius by 2. However with the 2007 release of updated Hipparcos files, the radius is now calculated at being round 143.72876980215814227665877149. The figure is derived at by using the formula from SDSS rather than peer reviewed papers. It has been known to produce widely incorrect figures.

Suhail Apparent and Absolute Magnitudes

Suhail has an apparent magnitude of 2.23 which is how bright we see the star from Earth. Apparent Magnitude is also known as Visual Magnitude. If you used the 1997 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of -3.99 If you used the 2007 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of -3.88. Magnitude, whether it be apparent/visual or absolute magnitude is measured by a number, the smaller the number, the brighter the Star is. Our own Sun is the brightest star and therefore has the lowest of all magnitudes, -26.74. A faint star will have a high number.

Distance to Suhail

Using the original Hipparcos data that was released in 1997, the parallax to the star was given as 5.69000 which gave the calculated distance to Suhail as 573.22 light years away from Earth or 175.75 parsecs. If you want that in miles, it is about 3,369,745,636,416,308.92, based on 1 Ly = 5,878,625,373,183.61 miles.

In 2007, Hipparcos data was revised with a new parallax of 5.99000 which put Suhail at a distance of 544.51 light years or 166.94 parsecs. It should not be taken as though the star is moving closer or further away from us. It is purely that the distance was recalculated.

Using the 2007 distance, the star is roughly 34,433,606.82 Astronomical Units from the Earth/Sun give or take a few. An Astronomical Unit is the distance between Earth and the Sun. The number of A.U. is the number of times that the star is from the Earth compared to the Sun. The star's Galacto-Centric Distance is 7,414.00 Parsecs or 24,181.75 Light Years. The Galacto-Centric Distance is the distance from the star to the Centre of the Galaxy which is Sagittarius A*.

Travel Time to Suhail

The time it will take to travel to this star is dependent on how fast you are going. U.G. has done some calculations as to how long it will take going at differing speeds. A note about the calculations, when I'm talking about years, I'm talking non-leap years only (365 days).

The New Horizons space probe is the fastest probe that we've sent into space at the time of writing. Its primary mission was to visit Pluto which at the time of launch (2006), Pluto was still a planet.

DescriptionSpeed (m.p.h.)Time (years)
Walking491,289,365,164.20
Car1203,042,978,838.81
Airbus A380736496,137,854.15
Speed of Sound (Mach 1)767.269475,918,433.64
Concorde (Mach 2)1,534.54237,958,906.68
New Horizons Probe33,00011,065,377.60
Speed of Light670,616,629.00544.51

Variable Type of Suhail

The star is a pulsating Slow Irregular variable type which means that its size changes over time. The Variable Type is usually named after the first star of that type to be spotted. Suhail brightness ranges from a magnitude of 2.376 to a magnitude of 2.294 over its variable period. The smaller the magnitude, the brighter the star. Its variable/pulsating period lasts for 0.1 days (variability).

Source of Information

The source of the information if it has a Hip I.D. is from Simbad, the Hipparcos data library based at the University at Strasbourg, France. Hipparcos was a E.S.A. satellite operation launched in 1989 for four years. The items in red are values that I've calculated so they could well be wrong. Information regarding Metallicity and/or Mass is from the E.U. Exoplanets. The information was obtained as of 12th Feb 2017.

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Additional Suhail Facts and Figures

Visual Facts


Primary / Proper / Traditional NameSuhail
Alternative NamesLambda Velorum, Lam Vel, Al Suhail, HD 78647, HIP 44816, HR 3634, lam Vel
Spectral TypeK4Ib-II
Constellation's Main StarYes
Multiple Star SystemYes
Star TypeLuminous Giant Star less luminour Supergiant Star
ColourOrange to Red
GalaxyMilky Way
ConstellationVela
Absolute Magnitude -3.99 / -3.88
Visual / Apparent Magnitude2.23
Naked Eye VisibleYes - Magnitudes
Right Ascension (R.A.)09h 07m 59.78
Declination (Dec.)-43° 25` 57.4
Galactic Latitude2.82113916 degrees
Galactic Longitude265.93504509 degrees
1997 Distance from Earth5.69000 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 573.22 Light Years
 175.75 Parsecs
2007 Distance from Earth5.99000 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 544.51 Light Years
 166.94 Parsecs
 34,433,606.82 Astronomical Units
Galacto-Centric Distance24,181.75 Light Years / 7,414.00 Parsecs
Proper Motion Dec. 13.52000 ± 0.09000 milliarcseconds/year
Proper Motion RA.-24.01000 ± 0.11000 milliarcseconds/year
B-V Index1.66
Radial Velocity17.60000 ± 0.30 km/s
Eccentricity0.02400
Semi-Major Axis7323.0000000
Brightest in Night Sky64th

Companions (Multi-Star and Exoplanets) Facts


Exoplanet CountNone/Unaware

Variable Star Details


Variable Star ClassPulsating
Variable Star TypeSlow Irregular
Mean Variability Period in Days0.068
Variable Magnitude Range (Brighter - Dimmer)2.294 - 2.376

Estimated Calculated Facts


Radius (x the Sun)143.73
Effective Temperature3,595 Kelvin

Sources and Links


SIMBAD SourceLink

Multi-Star System

The star has been identified as being a multi-star system, one in which there is at least one star in close orbit to another star or two or more stars orbiting a central point. The stars may be of equal mass, unequal mass where one star is stronger than the other or be in groups orbiting a central point which doesn't necessarily have to be a star. More information can be found on my dedicated multiple star systems page. The source of the info is Simbad. The file is dated 2000 so any differences between this and any other source will be down to the actual source from where the information came from.


Proper Motion mas/yr
H.D. IdB.D. IdStar CodeMagnitudeR.A.Dec.SpectrumColourYear
78647-42 4990.2A2.20000-22.0000012.00000K4Orange
B14.800001897

Vela Main Stars


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