Delphinus (Eng. U.S. //) Eng. oth: //) is a constellation in the northern sky, close to the celestial equator. Its name is Latin for dolphin. 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. It is one of the smaller constellations, ranked 69th in size.
|Pronunciation||// Delfínus, genitive //|
|Area||189 sq. deg. (69th)|
|Stars with planets||5|
|Stars brighter than 3.00m||0|
|Stars within 10.00 pc (32.62 ly)||2|
|Brightest star||Rotanev (β Del) (3.63m)|
|Visible at latitudes between +90° and −70°.|
Best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of September.
Delphinus' 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.
Delphinus lacks stars above fourth (apparent) magnitude; its brightest star is of magnitude 3.8. The main asterism in Delphinus is Job's Coffin, nearly a 45°-apex lozenge diamond of the four brightest stars: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta Delphini. Delphinus is in a rich Milky Way star field. Alpha and Beta Delphini have 19th century names Sualocin and Rotanev, read backwards: Nicolaus Venator, the Latinized name of a Palermo Observatory director, Niccolò Cacciatore (d. 1841).
Beta Delphini, called Rotanev. The gap between its close binary stars is visible from large amateur telescopes. To the unaided eye, it appears to be a white star of magnitude 3.6. It has a period of 27 years and is 97 light-years from Earth.
Gamma Delphini is a celebrated binary star among amateur astronomers. The primary is orange-gold of magnitude 4.3; the secondary is a light yellow star of magnitude 5.1. The pair form a true binary with an estimated orbital period of over 3,000 years. 125 light-years away, the two components are visible in a small amateur telescope. The secondary, also described as green, is 10 arcseconds from the primary. Struve 2725, called the "Ghost Double", is a pair that appears similar but dimmer. Its components of magnitudes 7.6 and 8.4 are separated by 6 arcseconds and are 15 arcminutes from Gamma Delphini itself.
In Delphinus, in extremes of distance, Gliese 795 is the closest known star at 54.95 ly and rapidly moves east over a period of centuries (863±3 arcseconds per year); whereas the giant of blue colour, W Delphini is at 2203.81 ly at 9.76 magnitude. Its brightness ranges from a magnitude of 12.3 to a magnitude of 9.7 over its variable period as it is a Beta Persei star-type semi-detached system. Other variable stars of large amateur telescopic visibility include R Delphini, a Mira-type variable star with a period of 285.5 days. Its magnitude ranges between a maximum 7.6 and a minimum 13.8.
Giants within our galaxy in Delphinus aside from Delta, Gamma and Epsilon include:
|Name||Colour||Type||Distance (in ly)|
|Musica or 18 Delphini||Yellow||giant||245.60|
Its rich Milky Way star field means many modestly deep-sky objects. NGC 6891 is a planetary nebula of magnitude 10.5; another is NGC 6905 or the Blue Flash nebula. NGC 6934 is a globular cluster of magnitude 9.75. At a distance of about 185,000 light-years, the globular cluster NGC 7006 is at the outer reaches of the galaxy. It is also fairly dim at magnitude 11.5.
Delphinus is associated with two stories from Greek mythology.
According to the first Greek god Poseidon wanted to marry Amphitrite, a beautiful nereid. However, wanting to protect her virginity, she fled to the Atlas mountains. Her suitor then sent out several searchers, among them a certain Delphinus. Delphinus accidentally stumbled upon her and was able to persuade Amphitrite to accept Poseidon's wooing. Out of gratitude the god placed the image of a dolphin among the stars.
The second story tells of the Greek poet Arion of Lesbos (7th century BC), who was saved by a dolphin. He was a court musician at the palace of Periander, ruler of Corinth. Arion had amassed a fortune during his travels to Sicily and Italy. On his way home from Tarentum his wealth caused the crew of his ship to conspire against him. Threatened with death, Arion asked to be granted a last wish which the crew granted: he wanted to sing a dirge. This he did, and while doing so, flung himself into the sea. There, he was rescued by a dolphin which had been charmed by Arion's music. The dolphin carried Arion to the coast of Greece and left.
A house at Sutton Girls is named Delphinus
- Ridpath & Tirion 2017, pp. 140-141.
- Schaaf, Fred (September 2012). "The Celestial Dolphin". Sky and Telescope: 47.
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- King, Bob (August 14, 2013). "Bright New Nova In Delphinus — You can See it Tonight With Binoculars". Universe Today (initial designation PNV J20233073+2046041). Retrieved August 15, 2013.
- Guido, Ernesto; Ruocco, Nello; Howes, Nick (August 15, 2013). "Possible Bright Nova in Delphinus". Associazione Friulana di Astronomia e Meteorologia. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
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- Pseudo-Hyginus. "HYGINUS, ASTRONOMICA 2.1-17". Theoi Classical Texts Library. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
- Ravensdale, Kaede. "Never Cry Werewolf".
- Herodotus, Histories I.23-24;
also Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae XVI.19; Plutarch, Conv. sept. sap. 160-62; Shakespeare, Twelfth Night (Act I, Sc 2, line 16)
- (in Chinese) AEEA (Activities of Exhibition and Education in Astronomy) 天文教育資訊網 2006 年 7 月 4 日
- Makemson 1941, p. 283.
- Makemson, Maud Worcester (1941). The Morning Star Rises: an account of Polynesian astronomy. Yale University Press.
- Ian Ridpath and Wil Tirion (2017). Stars and Planets Guide, Collins, London. ISBN 978-0-00-823927-5. Princeton University Press, Princeton. ISBN 978-0-691-17788-5.
- University of Wisconsin, "Delphinus"