Delphinus

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Delphinus is a constellation in the northern sky, close to the celestial equator. Its name is Latin for dolphin. It is one of the smaller constellations, ranked 69th in size out of 88. Delphinus was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and it remains among the 88 modern constellations recognized by the International Astronomical Union.

Delphinus's brightest stars form a distinctive asterism that can easily be recognized. It is bordered (clockwise from north) by Vulpecula the fox, Sagitta the arrow, Aquila the eagle, Aquarius the water-carrier, Equuleus the foal and Pegasus the flying horse.

In Chinese astronomy, constellation Delphinus is lied in The Black Tortoise of the North (北方玄武, Běi Fāng Xuán Wǔ)[1]

Contents

Notable features

Stars

The two brightest stars of this constellation, Sualocin (Alpha Delphini) and Rotanev (Beta Delphini), are not, as one might expect, names dating from antiquity, but instead date from a star catalogue of 1814 that was published at the Palermo Observatory in Italy. When read backwards they form the name Nicolaus Venator which is the Latinized version of the name of the assistant director of that observatory at that time, Niccolò Cacciatore (both Cacciatore and Venator mean hunter).

  • α Del (Sualocin): B9 IV, 3.77m (multiple star association, with 7 components, of which only the A & G components are the primary, the others only optical)
  • β Del (Rotanev): F5 IV, 4m - 4.9 m (5-star association, of which A & B components are primary, the rest optical)
  • γ Del: one of the finest double stars in the sky.
    • γ1 Del: F7 V, 5.14m
    • γ² Del: K1 IV, 4.27m
  • δ Del: A7 IIIp, 4.43m
  • The above mentioned stars form an asterism called Job's Coffin.
  • ε Del (Deneb Dulfim, or the tail of the Dolphin) is a star of spectral class B6 III with a magnitude of 4
  • R Delphini|R Del: Mira-type variable star with a period of 285.5 days; magnitude range between 7.6 and 13.8
  • ρ Aquilae moved across the border into Delphinus in 1992

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