International Star Registry

All Constellations

Delphinus - Dolphin

Represented as a dolphin with four principal stars in the head. Situated northeast of the Eagle. Some know it as Job’s Coffin, though the origin of the name is unknown.

Delphinus is a compact constellation with five principal stars that look like a small kite with a tail. It lies below the swan, between the eagle and the flying horse, an unusual place for a dolphin to reside.

Some mythologies say the dolphin was made a constellation by Neptune because one of these beautiful creatures had persuaded the goddess, Amphitrite, who had made a vow of perpetual celibacy, to become his wife.

Others say this is the dolphin which saved the poet and musician, Arion, native of the island of Lesbos. Arion traveled to Italy with Periander, tyrant of Corinth, where he sang and played music until he became very rich. Once aboard 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.

When the famous poet, Hesiod, was murdered in Naupactum, a city of Etolia in Greece, 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.

Although the natural shape of a dolphin is almost straight, many artists, sculptors, and poets depict it as incurvated to accommodate a rider on its back.

The dolphin is an extremely swift fish, 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.
Right Ascension 08:39
Diameter (°)5
Area (square °)189
Opposition Jul 30
Size Rank 69th
Brightness Rank 66th