δ Velorum
Delta Velorum is ten degrees southeast of gamma Velorum: binoculars. A noted multiple system (I 10, h4136), delta is the brightest eclipsing binary known, with an orbit of 45.15 days. In all the system contains five stars. The most accessible component, B, has an orbit of 142 years:
     AB: 2.0, 5.6; 263, 0.4".

In another seven thousand years delta Velorum will become the Southern Pole Star.

Several more binaries are in this field:
     DUN 60, on the western edge, is a near-binocular-accessible multiple:
          AB: 5.1, 9.6; 218, 26.1".
          AC: 5.1, 10.7; 16, 32.8".
     H Velorum (R 87) is a fairly close binary: 4.7, 7.7; 335, 2.6".

However the highlight of this field of view may be the star cluster found several degrees north of delta, IC 2391. The bright star omicron Velorum (3.6m), a blueish-white subgiant, is at the centre of this cluster. In fact the cluster often goes by the name the Omicron Velorum Cluster.

With an apparent visual magnitude of 2.5, IC 2391 is a naked-eye object of about thirty stars. It's about 50 million years old and is 500 light years from the Solar System. A fine object in small telescopes.


With delta centred, move north three fields and east one field to reach lambda Velorum.

Click on lambda on the map to continue.

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1999-2014 by Richard Dibon-Smith.