Delphinus, a very small constellation
located between Pegasus
, is a well known constellation with many stories surrounding it. It is located on the southern border of the Milky Way
, just north of the celestial equator
, in a portion of the sky known as the "Heavenly Waters" or just "the Water". It's best viewed between July and August, and contains stars of a very low magnitude, no stars as bright as 3rd magnitude.
It contains the asterism
of four stars known as "Job's Coffin
", most likely since Delphinus was interpreted as a whale in Chapter 41 of Job
, where God challenged Job
with, "Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook?"
The Arabs knew the constellation as a camel, and named it Al Ka'ud
or "the Riding Camel", while the Hebrews
knew it as Jonah's big fish. Early Christians saw it as the Cross of Jesus
, and the Hindu as Zizumara
, a porpoise. To the Greek it was the Sacred Fish, and has been the sky emblem of philanthropy
There are two main stories that follow Delphinus, though. One talks of the great poet Arion
, who was sailing from Sicily
to Corinth to visit his friend. He had acquired many treasures and wealth, causing his crew to throw him overboard in hopes to split it amongst themselves. It is said Arion was saved by a dolphin charmed by his music, while another story writes Apollo
called for a dolphin to save him. In either case, a dolphin brought Arion onto his back and brought him to the shores of Corinth
, and the image of the dolphin was put into the sky.
The other story tells of Poseidon/Neptune
who wished to make Amphitrite his wife. She was disgusted by this idea and fled to Mount Atlas
to preserve her virginity. Poseidon
sent out searchers for her, among them a dolphin. The dolphin discovered Amphitrite
and brought her (or talked her into going to) Poseidon, who married her and gave honor to the dolphin by putting his image into the sky.
Two of the stars located within the constellation are Sualocin
(Alpha Delphini) and Rotanev
(Beta Delphini), which is the latin name of the assistant director of the observatory that published a star catalog mentioning Delphinus in 1814, Nicolaus Venator
, spelled backwards.