|Pronunciation||// Delfínus, genitive //|
|Right ascension||20h 14m 14.1594s to 21h 08m 59.6073s|
|Declination||+2.4021468° to +20.9399471°|
|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 −69°.|
Best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of September.
Delphinus (Pronounced // or //) is a small constellation in the Northern Celestial Hemisphere, close to the celestial equator. Its name is the Latin version for the Greek word for dolphin (δελφίς). It is one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and remains one of the 88 modern constellations recognized by the International Astronomical Union. It is one of the smaller constellations, ranked 69th in size. Delphinus' five brightest stars form a distinctive asterism symbolizing a dolphin with four stars representing the body and one the tail. It is bordered (clockwise from north) by Vulpecula, Sagitta, Aquila, Aquarius, Equuleus and Pegasus.
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.
In non-Western astronomy
Delphinus is bordered by Vulpecula to the north, Sagitta to the northwest, Aquila to the west and southwest, Aquarius to the southeast, Equuleus to the east and Pegasus to the east. Covering 188.5 square degrees, corresponding to 0.457% of the sky, it ranks 69th of the 88 constellations in size. The three-letter abbreviation for the constellation, as adopted by the IAU in 1922, is "Del". The official constellation boundaries, as set by Eugène Delporte in 1930, are defined by a polygon of 14 segments. In the equatorial coordinate system, the right ascension coordinates of these borders lie between 20h 14m 14.1594s and 21h 08m 59.6073s, while the declination coordinates are between +2.4021468° and +20.9399471°. The whole constellation is visible to observers north of latitude 69°S.[a]
Delphinus has two stars above fourth (apparent) magnitude; its brightest star is of magnitude 3.6. 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.
HR Delphini was a nova that brightened to magnitude 3.5 in December 1967. It took an unusually long time for the nova to reach peek brightness which indicate that it barely satisfied the conditions for a thermonuclear runaway. Another nova by the name V339 Delphini was detected in 2013; it peaked at magnitude 4.3 and was the first nova observed to produce lithium.
Musica, also known by its Flamsteed designation 18 Delphini, is one of the five stars with known planets located in Delphinus. Arion, the planet, is a very dense and massive planet with a mass at least 10.3 times greater than Jupiter. Arion was part of the first NameExoWorlds contest where the public got the opportunity to suggest names for exoplanets and their host stars.
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.
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- Pseudo-Hyginus. "HYGINUS, ASTRONOMICA 2.1-17". Theoi Classical Texts Library. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
- Ridpath & Tirion 2017, pp. 140–141. sfn error: no target: CITEREFRidpathTirion2017 (help)
- 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)
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- University of Wisconsin, "Delphinus"
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Delphinus (constellation).|
- The Deep Photographic Guide to the Constellations: Delphinus
- The clickable Delphinus
- Star Tales – Delphinus
- Warburg Institute Iconographic Database (medieval and early modern images of Delphinus)