Volans is one of those constellations introduced by Johann Bayer in his
1603 star atlas. He called it Piscis Volans; only the adjective
has survived. The asterism shows a sideways
view of the "flying fish" (sort of).
This is one of the few constellations in which alpha is not the
brightest star; beta Volans is slightly brighter, and three other
stars are brighter than alpha Vol: Bayer
Volans has few attractions for the amateur observer: two fine binaries
and a faint galaxy.
Gamma2 and gamma1 Volantis form a fine
binary, a deep yellow primary and whitish component: 3.9, 5.8; PA 300º,
separation 13.6". Notice that gamma2 is the primary.
Epsilon Volantis has a faint component: 4.5, 8.1; PA 24º,
Volans has no variables suitable for amateur observation.
Deep Sky Objects:
There is one galaxy here which may be of some interest, a fairly faint
but fine example of a barred spiral galaxy.
NGC 2442 is a faint barred spiral galaxy found midway between
gamma and epsilon Volantis.
A slightly smaller galaxy with the same brightness (NGC 2434) is in the
same field, just northwest.