88 Dorado





English name:
Goldfish (sometimes Swordfish)
Stellar data
Coordonnées Céleste



Dorado is a constellation of the southern hemisphere. It seems that there is no "final" name for it for it varies from sometimes Goldfish to Swordfish on other occasions. To the ancients (this means, the Greek an similar culture of the northern hemisphere) this constellation was unknown. In the 17th century the german astronomer Johann Bayer (1572-1625) delineated the stargroups near the South Pole of the sky. He stayed with names of land and sea (see constellation families).

Stars and other objects

The most popular object in this contellation is the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of the two companions of our galaxy. It is a galaxy of its own, irregularly shaped, containing about 10.000 million stars (this is 10 percent of the number of stars within our galaxy). It's quite bright with an absolute magnitude of -19. As it has an diameter of about 6 degrees it can even be seen by the naked eye as a misty patch on the sky. Using small scopes it resolves stars, clusters and nebula.
The Tarantula Nebula, NGC 2070 (30 Dor), is a great looped nebulosity lying within the region the Large Magellanic Cloud covers. Its name is derived from its shape which resembles a spider. With the exception of the Orion Nebula it is probably the most outstanding nebulosity on the visible sky (you can view it with the naked eye).
Beta Dor is a Cepheid variable star. Within a period of 9.8 days its brightness changes from about four magnitudes to five magnitudes.


C. Kronberg