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ori.gif (1448 bytes) Mythology and history

Mythology of Vela

       One is the Vela, old ship of Argus, who along with Puppis (the stern), Carina (the keel) forms a gigantic sector that dominates the austral firmament, crosses in all their length the strip of the Milky Route, does not surprise therefore, that stops the old ones wanted to symbolize the great Ship of the Argonautas which, with the unfolded Velas and to the orders of Jasón and of helmsman Canopo or Canopus one goes to the conquest of the legendary vellocino of gold. These old cultures  comprise of the Mediterraneo that does more than two thousand years, by the precession of the equinoxes the constellation was visible for those northern latitudes; however, at the present time he is invisible from practically all the North hemisphere.  They were called Argonautas in the poem of Apolonio de Rodas, to the companions who helped to Jasón in their expedition in search of the vellocino of gold, the name comes from the ship Argus. According to the tradition they accompanied all the heroes to him by the time.


Frixo and Hele are brothers and children of Atamante king of Tesalia and Néfele. After the death of his mother the father becomes to marry with Ino, that stops to calm a time of hambruna decides to sacrifice the brothers. Hermes to save the children sends a sheep to them winged, with the wool or vellocino of gold and equipped with the gift of the word. The children mounted on him leave to Asia, being saved of being sacrificed. During the Hele trip it falls to the sea and single Frixo arrives at the Cólquide, in where Eetes reigns that welcomes it and it grants in marriage to his Calciope daughter.

          As gratefulness sample. Frixo sacrifices the sheep and offers the vellocino to the king, who consecrates it to You plow and he hangs of an oak in a dedicated forest the God. Day and night it keeps an enormous dragoon, whereas in the fields around enormous wild bulls pastaban.

            Of other side in Yolco reigned Pelías after to overthrow to Esón, this afraid of which her evil stepbrother assassinated her Jasón son, who was the true heir of the throne, sent it to take refuge to the cave of the centaur Chiron. The wise person Chiron instructed it in the letters and in the arts and soon he sent it to Yolco to demand his right to the throne.

           Jasón in its trip to Yolco lost one of its sandals and when it appeared before Pelías this was stupefied, because an old augury of oráculo warned that somebody with a single sandal would lower of the mount would overthrow to him and would kill. Pelias astutely acceded to give back the throne to Jasón but to do it it demanded to him that it fulfilled an assumption requested of Frixo, to return to his origin the vellocino of gold. 

         Jasón accepted the order and ordered to Argus the manufacture of a ship of 50 oars, this boat thanks to  a wood piece coming from the sacred oak of oráculo of Dodona, gift of Athenian tapeworm the gift of the speech and the prophecy. For the Jasón crew it reunited to the bravest and valiant young people of those times. 

           The Argonautas left from the coast of Págasas, during their outward journey happened many adventures. To its passage by the island of Limnnos, inhabited by women, they were united to the women with the idea that children conceived men; they happened through Samotracia and they arrived at the Earth of the Doliones, where king Cícico and his subjects welcomed them, once they divided winds again pushed them the coasts in where by mistake they faced its old hosts being died king Cícico and his cut; In the coasts of Mísia, the nymphs seized of Spinnings, friend of Hercules, this and Polifemo was in their aid and the trip followed without them; When happening through the Earth of the blind fortune teller Fineo, they released it of frightful the Harpías, and he in gratefulness warned to them of the danger of the Cianeas rocks that destroyed any ship that dared to happen among them, recommended to them that before happening they sent dove and if the bird managed to also pass they would do it, but who otherwise did not try it. 

            After these and other adventures the expedition I arrive at the kingdom of Eetes. Jasón I make a visit to the monarch to ask for the delivery to him of the Vellocino of gold, the king accepted requesting in return who dominated the bulls with bronze hooves and that later plowed the field and seeded some dragon's teeths that would give to him.

            In this Medea daughter of Eetes, who I fall in love crazy with Jasón offered itself to help him as long as Jasón took it by wife. Prote'ge' of the fire gave a magical ointment to him so that he covered his body and shield and with this had left and the iron. She noticed in addition that the teeth to him to the dragoon as soon as seeded they would become armed soldiers ready to end him. She advised to him that she sent a stone without being seen and this way by malentendido without knowing nobody who had sent the stone to another one they would kill themselves among them.

            Jasón obtained concluded out of danger with these tasks, but Eetes did not fulfill its word, then Jasón, with the support of Medea, guardian slept to the dragoon, and after seizing of the vellocino of gold they were escaped. Hardly king Eetes discovered the flight and the theft of the vellocino of gold, sent itself in his search but Medea, to delay it, gave death to Apsirto, its brother, that traveled with her, and began to throw to the sea, one by one its members. The horrified Eetes, lost in the persecution gathering the parts of the body of his loved son. 

             Of return, to its passage by the island of the sirens oía from distant spot its embrujador song but Orfeo, musician of Thrace, with its melodiosa lira and its voice, sang of so beautiful way, that no of the Argonautas was animated to correspond to the call of the Sirens; they arrived at Crete, where they had to face the giant Thallus the aid, again, of the spells of Medea. 

           They arrived at the aim to Yolco, bringing with himself the vellocino of gold but when Jasón protests for if the throne of the king found out that Pelias, during its absence had assassinated all the relatives of Jasón and that in addition it refused to give the throne to him. Medea was introduced in the palace and convinced the daughters of Pelías so that they helped him to eliminate his father assuring to them that it would give eternal youth them. Once assassinated king Jasón it assumed the throne and with Medea they reigned in Yolco, years later conceived a piston rod, trusting to him its education to the Centaur Chiron.



           Vela, is member of a group of constellations such as the keel (Carina) and the stern (Puppis) that form the boat of the Argonautas that all of them formed an own constellation. Due to his enormous size it was divided in the previous ones. Logically from I write these lines to you located to a North latitude of 40º the constellation of Vela is visible solely the same North part and and the less most interesting one from the astronomical point of view. The Milky Route crosses the constellation in its South sector for that reason we pruned to see great amount of stars and stellar clusters. 

                Vela limits the north with the constellations of Antlia and Pyxis (the compass), to the east with Puppis, the south with the constellation of Carina and to the west with Centaurus.

                Vela is observable in the North hemisphere during the winter nights to very low height since the North zone of the constellation culminates solely, however is observable in all its splendor during the months of spring, summer and autumn in the austral hemisphere.

 Vela to date single I have been able to locate and to observe the North zone of the same one, whose data was the 31 of January of 1987 when it was 19 years old from the locality of Cán Picafort, Majorca, Spain; logically I have left the most interesting and shining zone to be able to observe it completely and to delight to me with his beauty.

Constellation of Vela


Main stars

       Gamma, g; of magnitude 1.82 and blue color, one is closely together to the east of the constellation of Puppis. Form leaves from a binary system formed by components of the sixth and eighth magnitude.  Earth light is to 840 years, is a blue supergiant 11,000 times more luminous than our Sun.

      Delta, d; of magnitude 1.94 and white color, one is to the south of the Carina constellation. Earth light is to 79 years, is a giant 84 times more luminous than our Sun.

      Mú, m; of 2.72 magnitude and orange color, one is closely together in the western end of Candle of Centaurus. Earth light is to 115 years, is a star 87 times more luminous than our Sun.

  Other objects

         NGC 3201; spectacular globular cluster located in the center of the constellation of magnitude 6,8; light of us is to 16,300 years, has an angular diameter of 18,2' of arc.

           NGC 3228; precious stellar cluster of magnitude 6.0 formed by 25 stars of ninth magnitude of 18' of angular diameter, is to 1,630 years Earth light, has a considered age of only 41 million years.

             NGC 2659; stellar cluster located to the east of the constellation of magnitude 8,6; formed by included stars of 11º to 14º magnitude in 2,7' of arc. Light of us is to 4,727 years.

            NGC 2910; stellar cluster of magnitude 7,2 with an angular diameter of 5,0' of arc formed by stars of 10º to 14º magnitude. Light of us is to 4,300 years and has a considered age of 40 million years.

            NGC 2670; stellar cluster of magnitude 7.8 with an angular diameter of 9' of arc, is to 3,260 years light of us and has a considered age d 96 million years. Magnitude is formed by stars of 13º.


ori.gif (1448 bytes) Observations by telescope

           To date observations by telescope have not been made in the constellation of Candle since it is located in very austral latitudes and invisible from where I write these lines to you, Majorca, Spain, although I do not discard to someday make a trip to the seas of the south, and to lose to me in an island of the Pacific to be able to contemplate and to locate the constellations that still I have left to discover.


ori.gif (1448 bytes) Other constellations

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