The Deep Photographic Guide to the

The constellation of the month


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Latin: Vela (Vel)
English: Sails Spanish: Vela de la Nave Argo
German: Schiffssegel   French: Voile

The constellation Vela is a wonderful field in the southern milky way. It lies next to the prominent constellations Centaurus and Carina. Velas bow of stars around the bright reddish star Alsulhai (lambda Velorum) is quite distinct (see lines). The brightest stars of Vela have about 2nd magnitude in the visual spectrum.

Best observing time in mid of March is about 22:00 (10:00 pm) local time. The declination of the constellation borders ranges from -57o to -37o. So you should be on the southern hemisphere for a good observation.

There are several interesting deep sky objects in this rich milky way field, especially open star clusters. Some faint but extended reddish glow can be seen on the lower right of the constellation Vela. This is the Vela supernova remnant, part of the even bigger Gum nebula. The Gum nebula can be seen somewhat better in the photography of the constellation Puppis. However, this nebula is too faint for visual observers whereas the Eta Carinae nebula is seen quite easily (lower left).

© all photographs taken by Till Credner and Sven Kohle