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Vela

The Sails (of the Argo)

Abbreviation: Vel
Genitive: Velorum
Origin: Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille

The constellation of Vela

The Argo was the ship of Jason and the Argonauts who sought the Golden Fleece in Greek myth. The huge constellation Argo Navis was devised by the Greeks to honour this vessel. In the mid-eighteenth century, French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille divided this unwieldy constellation into three smaller pieces: Carina, the keel of the ship; Puppis, the stern or poop deck; and Vela, the sails. However, he retained the Bayer designations of the original constellation so only Carina has an α star, only Vela has a γ star, etc.

Notable Features

Designation Name Description
Puppid-Velids Of average speed and brightness, this December shower emanates from a radiant between the constellations of Puppis and Vela.
δ Vel Alsephina This star will be only 0.04° away from the south celestial pole in 9245 CE.
κ Vel Markeb
λ Vel Suhail In Chinese astronomy, this star is known as Tianji, from Tiān Jì meaning 'the judge for estimating the age of animals'.
Vela X-1 This object is the prototypical high-mass X-ray binary system, consisting of a supergiant star and a neutron star. The x-ray emission of the neutron star is caused by the accretion of matter from the stellar wind of its companion star. Vela X-1 is also an eclipsing binary system with an orbital period of around 9 days. It is not related to the nearby Vela Pulsar.
HD 83443 Kalausi This eighth-magnitude star is known to have at least one exoplanet.
HD 85390 Natasha This ninth-magnitude star is known to have at least one exoplanet.
C74 Eight Burst Nebula This is a bright planetary nebula and a good object to observe telescopically.
C79 C79 is globular cluster with a very low central concentration of stars. Binoculars or a small telescope are required to observe it.
C85 ο Velorum Cluster This open cluster is visible to the naked eye. The star ο Vel is its brightest member and lends its name to the cluster.
NGC 2547 This is another small open cluster which is easily visible through binoculars or a telescope.