Delphinus is represented as a dolphin with four principal stars in the head. It is situated northeast of the Eagle. Some know it as Job’s Coffin, though the origin of the name is unknown.
The constellation Delphinus is a compact constellation with five principal stars that look like a small kite with a tail. The name translates to the dolphin in Latin. It lies below the swan, between the eagle and the flying horse, an unusual place for a dolphin to reside.
The nearest constellations to Delphinus are Aquarius, Aquila, Equuleus, Pegasus, Sagitta and Vulpecula.
Right Ascension: 08:39
Diameter (°): 5
Area (square °): 189
Opposition: Jul 30
Size Rank: 69th
Brightness Rank: 66th
Major or notable stars in Delphinus
Rotanev – β Delphini (Beta Delphini)
Sualocin – α Delphini (Alpha Delphini)
Aldulfin – ε Delphini (Epsilon Delphini)
γ Delphini (Gamma Delphini)
ρ Aquilae (Rho Aquilae)
Musica (18 Delphini)
Shama (HD 99109)
Deep Sky Objects in Delphinus
NGC 6934 (Caldwell 47)
Blue Flash Nebula – NGC 6905
NGC 7006 (Caldwell 42)
Mythology of the Constellation Delphinus
The dolphin is an extremely swift sea mammal, capable of living a long time out of the water. In fact, it seems to delight in leaping out of the water and otherwise frolicking about. It is a favorite subject of stories.
Some myths say the dolphin was a messenger of Neptune, known as Poseidon in Greek Mythology. Neptune, the God of the Sea, fell in love with the beautiful nymph Amphitrite. Amphitrite was not easily persuaded because she had made a vow of perpetual celibacy.
The Dolphin persuaded the goddess to become the wife of Neptune. As an act of gratitude, Neptune placed Delphinus among the stars in the night sky.
Others say this is the dolphin which saved the poet and musician, Arion, native of the island of Lesbos. Arion traveled to Sicely with Periander, tyrant of Corinth, where he sang and played music until he became very rich. When he boarded ship with his winnings to sail home, sailors schemed to murder him and divided up his great wealth.
Discovering his death was being planned, Arion requested permission to play a last tune on his lute. The melody of the instrument attracted a number of dolphins, whereupon Arion dove in among them.
One of the dolphins purportedly carried the poet/musician to Taenarus, a promontory of Laconia in Peloponnesus. There Arion went to the Court of Periander, who ordered all the sailors to be crucified when they returned.
Another myth tells us that the famous poet, Hesiod, was murdered in the city Naupactum. His body was thrown into the sea. Some dolphins reportedly brought the floating corpse back to shore where Hesiod’s friends discovered it. Using the poet’s dogs, they tracked down the assassins and drowned the murderers in the same sea.
Taras, the founder of Tarento in southern Italy, was saved from shipwreck by a dolphin. The city’s inhabitants preserved the memory of this extraordinary event by placing the image of a dolphin on their coins.
The natural shape of a dolphin is almost straight on a star map. Many artists, sculptors, and poets depict it as incurvated to accommodate a rider on its back.