Star Names:

Volans


Map of The Constellation of Volans
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Volans is a constellation in the southern hemisphere. It was first introduced by the Dutch astronomer Petrus Plancius in the 16th century from the observations of the Dutch explorers Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman. Volans is one of the constellations that appeared in German cartographer Johann Bayer's celestial atlas Uranometria in 1603. Bayer called the constellation Piscis Volans ("the flying fish").

Volans represents a flying fish, a type of fish found in tropical waters. The German astronomer Johannes Kepler also called it Passer, which means "the sparrow."

The constellation Volans occupies an area of 141 square degrees and contains one star with known planets. It can be seen at latitudes between +15° and -90° and is best visible at 9 p.m. during the month of March.

The brightest star in the constellation is [8948] beta Volantis, a variable orange giant star approximately 108 light-years distant.

Volans also contains two interesting binary stars, [8963]-[8949] gamma and [8953] epsilon Volantis. Gamma Volantis consists of [8949] an orange giant (gamma-2) and [8963] a yellow-white main sequence dwarf (gamma-1) for a companion.

[8953] epsilon Volantis is a triple star system that consists of a spectroscopic binary star and a companion with a magnitude of 8.1. The spectroscopic binary is a blue-white subgiant with a magnitude of 4.35. Epsilon Volantis is approximately 642 light-years distant.

Other notable stars in the constellation are [8950] zeta Volantis, a binary star with an orange giant for a primary component, [8951] delta Volantis, a yellow-white bright giant 660 light-years distant, [8952] alpha Volantis, a white subgiant with a magnitude of 4.00, 124 light-years away, and [8959]-[8962] kappa Volantis, a triple star system 393 light-years distant, composed of a blue-white giant, a white subgiant and a magnitude 8.5 companion star.

Volans also contains a notable deep sky object. NGC 2442/2443 is an intermediate spiral galaxy, discovered by Sir John Herschel in the 19th century. With a magnitude of 11.3, the galaxy appears pretty faint and small. It contains a cloud of gas, designated HIPASS J0731-69, that does not have any stars and appears distorted, as if disturbed by an invisible companion galaxy.

Volans belongs to the Johann Bayer family of constellations, along with Hydrus, Dorado, Apus, Pavo, Grus, Phoenix, Tucana, Indus, Chamaeleon and Musca.

Constellations directly bordering Volans are Carina, Pictor, Dorado, Mensa and Chamaeleon.


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