Vela Constellation: Facts & Myths

The 32nd constellation out of the 88 constellations by size is known as the Vela, which is a Latin name which means the sails of the ship. The vela constellation was earlier part of the larger constellation, which was known as the ship Argon Navis which was then divided into three sections; vela being one of them and the other parts being Carina and Puppis. The Argon Navis was split into three sections by French Astronomer Nicolas Louis De in the 1750s. The Vela constellation consists of some stars and sky objects.

Location of Vela

Being the 32nd constellation, vela occupies an area of 500 degrees and is located in the southern hemisphere’s second quadrant. It can be seen from an altitude of +30 degrees and – 90 degrees. Antlia, carina, Centaurus, Puppis, and Pyxis are the constellations around the Vela. This constellation is known for having some stars out of which five have known planets, the brightest of them being the gamma velorum.

Myth about Vela

According to one of the favorite myths associated with vela; it represents the sails of the Argo Navis which is a ship on which the Argonauts sailed with Jason to the Golden Fleece. Argus was the shipwright who built the ship, and that is why the name of the ship was Argo Navis. After the expedition became successful the vessel was dedicated to the sea god and then later turned into a constellation.

Vela and its stars

  • Gamma velorum- This is the brightest star to be found in the Vela constellation with a magnitude of 1.7, it in itself is a multiple star system which has six stars. The traditional name for gamma velorum is Suhail al muhlif.
  • Velorum or delta velorum- This is the second brightest star in the Vela constellation; it has a magnitude of 1.96 and is some 80.6 light years away from the sun. This star is located near vela’s neighboring constellation the carina. This star-like the gamma velorum is also a multiple star system in itself as it has the delta velorum A and delta velorum This star is also known as Koo shee in Chinese meaning bow and arrows.
  • Lambda velorum- The third brightest star with a magnitude of 2.21 in the Vela This star is also known by the traditional name Suhail just like gamma velorum, and in China, it is known as the Pinyin.
  • Kappa velorum- This has a magnitude of 2.48 in a visual sense and is also called by its traditional name the Markab.
  • Mu velorum- This star is about 117 light years distant from the Earth and is 107 times more laminating than the sun. The brightest component of this star is a yellow giant star.

These are some of the stars of the Vela constellation, gamma velorum being the brightest. Another noteworthy fact about Vela is that it is known to be a member of the heavenly waters family of constellations along with carina, Columba, Delphinus, Eridanus, Pyxis.