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Constellation Delphinus (Dolphin)

Constellation Delphinus (Dolphin)

The Dolphin (lat. Delphinus) is a small constellation of the northern hemisphere. It is one of the 48 constellations of antiquity described by Ptolemy. The brightest stars of the Dolphin are called Sualocin and Rotanev which, when read backwards, give the name "Nicolaus Venator". This is the Latin form of the name of the Italian astronomer Niccolò Cacciatore, who introduced the names to the star catalog in 1814 and is therefore the only astronomer immortalized in the sky.

How to spot Delphinus

The constellation of 189 square degrees can be seen best during fall. The body is represented by a rhombus, from which the caudal fin emerges. The Dolphin is located northwest of the bright star Altair in the constellation of Aquila. The constellations Vulpecula, Aquarius and Sagitta are also nearby.


There are two different versions to the mythological origin of the Delphinus.

One is about Poseidon, who fell in love with the young Amphitrite. Since she was not interested in him, she fled to her sisters. Poseidon sent out several messengers to speak for him. One of them was a dolphin who won the trust of Amphitrite due to its charm and persuaded her to marry Poseidon. Out of gratitude, the God of Water set the dolphin in the starry sky.

The second story is about the famous musician Arion. He traveled around the world to give concerts and therefore carried a lot of money with him. When the sailors of his ship found out, they wanted to rob him and throw him overboard. However, they allowed him to sing one last song before his supposed death. Then they pushed him over the armor. However, through his singing Arion had attracted dolphins, which brought him safely ashore. There he could report the sailors and create justice. In memory of this event the dolphins were set in the sky.