Star Names:

Dorado


Map of The Constellation of Dorado
Please hover over any star to get more information
Dorado is a small constellation in the southern hemisphere. Its name is Spanish for "dolphinfish." It was one of the constellations observed by the Dutch navigators Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman and listed by the Dutch astronomer Petrus Plancius in the 16th century. In the 17th and 18th century, the constellation was also known as Xiphias, the swordfish.

Dorado represents the colourful, surface-dwelling dolphinfish found in tropical waters, not the one usually seen in ponds. The Dutch navigators observed the dolphinfish chasing the flying fish, which is why Dorado was placed in the sky next to the constellation Volans, which represents the flying fish.

The constellation Dorado occupies an area of 179 square degrees and contains two stars with known planets. It can be seen at latitudes between +20° and -90° and is best visible at 9 p.m. during the month of January. Dorado contains most of the Large Magellanic Cloud as well as the South Ecliptic Pole.

The brightest star in Dorado is [3404] alpha Doradus, a binary system with a blue subgiant revolving around a bluish-white giant. The primary component is notable for its high concentration of silicon.

The second brightest star, [3405] beta Doradus, is a pulsating variable star, with a spectral type ranging from yellow to white and luminosity ranging from that of a supergiant to that of a bright giant.

[3406] gamma Doradus is the prototype of the Gamma Doradus variable class of stars. It is a pulsating variable with slight variations in luminosity caused by non-radial gravity wave oscillations.

Two other notable stars in Dorado are [3419] R Doradus, a red giant variable believed to be the second largest star as viewed from Earth, and HE 0437-5439, a massive, relatively young star that is rapidly receding from the Milky Way and will eventually escape into intergalactic space. It is believed to have been created in the Large Magellanic Cloud and ejected from it soon afterward.

The Large Magellanic Cloud is an irregular dwarf galaxy neighbouring our own, the Milky Way. It is approximately 170,000 light-years away and appears as a faint cloud on the border between the constellations Dorado and Mensa. It is rich in gas and dust and undergoing a lot of star formation. It was first documented by the Persian astronomer Abd Al-Rahman Al Sufi in the 10th century and then six centuries later by Amerigo Vespucci. It is, however, named after the 16th century Portuguese explorer Fernão de Magalhães (Ferdinand Magellan), who introduced it into common western knowledge. The Small Magellanic Cloud, which also bears his name, is located in the constellation Tucana.

The Large Magellanic Cloud contains roughly 400 planetary nebulae, 700 open star clusters, 60 globular clusters and hundreds of thousands of giants and supergiants. One of the most notable nebulae in the region is the Tarantula Nebula, also known as NGC 2070 or 30 Doradus. At an apparent magnitude of 8, the Tarantula Nebula was first believed to be a star. Lying approximately 180,000 light-years away, it is an extremely bright non-stellar object. The nebula is the most active starburst region in the Local Group of galaxies. The star cluster NGC 2074 is one of the clusters being created by the nebula.

The brightest star in the Large Magellanic Cloud is S Doradus, a luminous blue variable and one of the brightest known stars, with an absolute magnitude sometimes reaching -10. It is, however, too distant to be seen with the naked eye.

In 1987, supernova 1987A was observed in the Large Magellanic Cloud. It was the brightest and nearest observed supernova in modern times.

Other notable features in the region include NGC 1566, an intermediate spiral galaxy and the brightest galaxy in the Dorado Group, and NGC 1850, an open cluster composed of young stars, unlike any other known cluster in the Milky Way.

Dorado belongs to the Johann Bayer family of constellations, along with Hydrus, Volans, Apus, Pavo, Grus, Phoenix, Tucana, Indus, Chamaeleon and Musca.

Constellations directly bordering Dorado are Caelum, Horologium, Hydrus, Reticulum, Mensa, Volans and Pictor.


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