Volans Constellation is home to two stars with confirmed planets and no named stars. The brightest star in the constellation is Beta Volantis, with an apparent magnitude of 3.77. There are no Messier objects in Volans and no meteor shower is associated with it, but it does contain some interesting deep sky objects, such as the Lindsay-Shapley Ring and the Meathook Galaxy.
History and Mythology Of The Volans Constellation
The Volans Constellation is not associated with any myths, but represents a type of tropical fish that can jump out of the water and glide through the air on wings. It was introduced by the Dutch navigators Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman in the late 16th century and depicted on Petrus Plancius’ globe in 1598.
It appeared in a star atlas, Johann Bayer’s Uranometria, in 1603. Volans was called Piscis Volans, the flying fish, and was known by that name until the mid-19th century, when John Herschel suggested that the name be shortened to just Volans.
Location Of The Volans Constellation
Volans is one of the smallest constellations and the 76th largest constellation. It occupies an area of 141 square degrees. It is located in the second quadrant of the southern sky (SQ2) and can be seen at latitudes between +15° and -90°.
Its declination is 8h and its right ascension is −70°. It is best seen at 9pm, during the month of March.
Volans’ neighboring constellations are Carina, Chamaeleon, Dorado, Mensa and Pictor and it belongs to the Johann Bayer family of constellations, along with Apus, Chamaeleon, Dorado, Grus, Hydrus, Indus, Musca, Pavo, Phoenix and Tucana.
Beta Volantis is the brightest star in the constellation and has an apparent magnitude of 3.77. It is an orange giant with the stellar classification K1III. It is located around 107.5 light years away from us and is 41 times more luminous than the Sun. Beta Volantis also has 1.62 times the mass of the Sun.
Alpha Volantis has the stellar classification of kA3hA5mA5 V. It is an Am star, which means it is A-type chemically peculiar star with a strong spectrum and variable absorption lines of metals. It has an apparent magnitude of 4.00 and is located approximately 125 light years away from Earth. Alpha Volantis is thought to be about 427 million years old.
Gamma Volantis is a binary star that is located around 142 light years away from the Sun. It is composed of Gamma-2 Volantis, an orange giant with the stellar classification K0III, and Gamma-1 Volantis, a yellow-white main sequence star belonging to the stellar class F2V. Gamma-2 Volantis has an apparent magnitude of 3.78 and Gamma-1 has a visual magnitude of 5.68, and they are separated by 14.1 seconds of arc in the sky.
Delta Volantis is a yellow-white bright giant star with the stellar classification F6II and an apparent magnitude of 3.97 and is located around 660 light years away from the Sun.
Epsilon Volantis is a triple star system with an apparent magnitude of 4.35. The primary component is a spectroscopic binary star with an orbital period of 14.17 days. It is a blue-white subgiant with the stellar classification of B6IV. It has a companion that is located 6.05 arc seconds away and that has a magnitude of 8.1. The Epsilon Volantis system is located around 642 light years away from Earth.
Zeta Volantis is a binary star and has an apparent magnitude of 3.93. It consists of an orange giant belonging to the spectral class K0III and a 10th magnitude companion. They are separated by 16.7 arc seconds and are located around 134 light years away from us.
Eta Volantis is a triple star system with an apparent magnitude of 5.28. The primary component is a white subgiant of the spectral type A. The star has two 12th magnitude companions located 30.8 and 42.4 arc seconds away. Eta Volantis is located 356 light years away from Earth.
Theta Volantis is a white main sequence star with the stellar classification A0V and an apparent magnitude of 5.19. It is located around 239 light years away from the Sun.
Iota Volantis is a blue-white subgiant star with the stellar classification of B7IV and an apparent magnitude of 5.41. It is located around 558 light years away from the Solar System.
Kappa Volantis is a triple star system that is composed of a blue-white giant with the stellar classification of B9III-IV and a visual magnitude of 5.33, a white subgiant belonging to the stellar class A0IVMn with an apparent magnitude of 5.63 around 65 arc seconds away from the primary, and a star with a magnitude of 8.5 separated from the second component by 37.7 arc seconds. The entire system is located around 393 light years away from Earth.
HD 76700 is a yellow dwarf star with the stellar classification G6V and an apparent magnitude of 8.13. It has a mass similar to the Sun, but is much brighter and older. It is located around 194.6 light years away from Earth. Recently, a planet was discovered orbiting HD 76700 with a period of 3.97097 days. It has a mass 0.233 times that of Jupiter.
Deep Sky Objects
The Lindsay-Shapley Ring, also known as AM0644-741, is an unbarred lenticular galaxy with an apparent magnitude of 13.96. It was discovered by Eric Lindsay and Harlow Shapley in 1960 and is located around 300 million light years away from Earth, near the Large Magellanic Cloud.
The ring which surrounds the galaxy’s nucleus is about 150,000 light years in diameter and is believed to have formed after a collision with another galaxy. The ring is a starburst region and contains many hot blue stars. It is thought that it will continue to expand for another 300 million years, and then begin to disintegrate.
The Meathook Galaxy
The Meathook Galaxy, also known as NGC 2442, is an intermediate spiral galaxy that was discovered by John Herschel and has a visual magnitude of 11.2. Herschel described one of the galaxy’s spiral arms as hook-like, which is how it got it’s name, and it’s appearance is believed to be the result of an encounter with a smaller galaxy.
The Meathook Galaxy is around 50 million light years away from Earth and its spans around 150,000 light years across.
NGC 2397 is a spiral galaxy with an apparent magnitude of 12.68. It was discovered by the English astronomer and mathematician John Herschel on February 21, 1835. It’s nucleus contains old red and yellow stars, and the outer spiral arms are regions where star formation has recently taken place.
NGC 2397 is located around 60 million light years away from Earth. In 2006, SN 2006bc, a late stage supernova, was discovered in NGC 2397.
NGC 2434 is an elliptical galaxy with a visual magnitude of 11.3. It was discovered by John Herschel on December 23, 1834 and is 21,898 Mpc distant from Earth.
- Some Images created with the NightVision app – https://www.nvastro.com/nvj.html
- Some Images created with the Stelvision Sky Map https://www.stelvision.com/en/sky-map/
- Volans 1 – https://starregistration.net/constellations/volans-constellation.html
- Volans 2 – https://in-the-sky.org/data/constellation.php?id=89
- Lindsay-Shapley Ring – https://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/hst_bday/january-16
- Meathook Galaxy – http://annesastronomynews.com/photo-gallery-ii/galaxies-clusters/the-meathook-galaxy/
- NGC 2397 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC_2397
- NGC 2434 – https://www.astrobin.com/72x83z/?nc=all