Abbreviation:  Vel
English Name:  The Sails
Genitive: Suhail al Muhif
Hemisphere:  Northern Hemisphere
Location: Between the constellations of Antlia and Carina.
Visible between latitudes:  
+30 and -90 degrees
Best season: Spring
Seen in three seasons: Winter, Spring and Summer.
Best seen in:  During the middle of March.
Seen between:February to April.
Right Ascension (RA):  09 hour
Declination (DEC):  -50 degrees
Area (square degrees):  500 (32nd)

Vela  (The Sails)

  •  It was originally part of a larger constellation, which was later divided into three parts, the others being Carina (The Keel), Puppis (The Stern), and Pyxis (The Compass), once formed part of a huge group of stars in the southern skies known as Argos Navis.

Messier Objects

  • No Messier objects in Vela.

Features of Interest

  • NGC 2547  –  Open Cluster; 80 stars, detected weak concentration of stars range in brightness, visible with binocular or a small telescope.
  • IC 2391  –  Open Cluster; also known as Caldwell 85 (C85), very bright containing about 30 stars – visible to the naked-eye and an ideal object for binocular observation.
  • IC 2395  –  Open Cluster; fine cluster of around 16 stars, best observed with 3 or 4-inch telescopes, but well seen in binoculars.
  • NGC 2547  –  Open Cluster; large and bright, pretty sprinkling of bright blue stars – involved in nebulosity. (Likely – Seven Sisters in Taurus.)
  • NGC 2626  –  Reflection Nebula – pretty bright & large, unusually but very interest to be seen roundish nebula.
  • NGC 3201  –  Globular Cluster; fairly loose and slightly irregular in outline, very small and very bright nucleus. Well resolved with 4-inch telescopes.
  • NGC 3132  –  Planetary Nebula; also know as Caldwell 74 (C74) or the Eight Burst Nebula, very bright and rounded disc is visible with a small telescope – may reveal the magnitude +10.0 star at its center. Sometimes it considered the southern version of Lyra’s Ring Nebula (M57). (Magnitude: +8.2)

Named Stars

  • Suhail al Muhlif (Gamma 2 Vel)
  • Alsuhail (Lambda Vel)


  • Photo of the constellation; Vela, as it appears to the naked eye. (Lines have been added for clarity.)
  • Sky Chart  –  Vela
  • List of stars in Vela.


Back to The 88 Constellations Lists  page.


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