The American Association of Amateur Astronomers
Dorado - The Swordfish
Dorado is one of the 15 circumpolar constellations in the southern hemisphere.
It was first described as a goldfish in Johann Bayer's Uranometria from 1603, and is one of
the 12 new southern constellations that he named in that atlas. The designation
Goldfish refers to a large tropical fish - in modern listings, it is most often
called the Swordfish.
Dorado is famous at the home
constellation of the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of the two Clouds of Magellan,
first discovered by Europeans during the round-the world journey of that famous
explorer. The Large Magellanic Cloud, along with the Small Magellanic Clound in
Tucana, is one of two elliptical glaxies that are easily viewable satellite galaxies of our
Also famous in Dorado is the
Tarantula Nebula, NGC 2070. Like the Eta Carina nebula and M42 in Orion, it is a stellar nursery of dust and gas. It is the largest-known diffuse
nebula, and if it were at the same distance from earth as M42, it would
cover a portion of the sky equal to the entire constellation of
NGC 1553 and NGC 1586 are two
interesting spiral galaxies found near Alpha Doradus
South Celestial Pole: Octans,
Dorado, Tucana and Magellanic Clouds
Photo copyright Ed Flaspoehler
- La Serena, Chile, 1986
Click on image for a larger view.
This wide angle, 28-mm
photographic image of the South Celestial Pole covers a lot of territory.
In the upper center is the
constellation Octans and the pole itself. To the upper left of
Octans, you can
make out the stars in the constellation Apus.
Just below and left of center is
the Small Magellanic Cloud in Tucana. Look carefully, and you can easily see the
bright globular cluster, 47 Tucanae.
Right of center is the much
larger and brighter Large Magellanic Cloud in Dorado and Mensa. You can easily
make out NGC 2070, the Tarantula Nebula, in the LMC.
Both the LMC and the SMC are
elliptical galaxies which are satellite companions to our own Milky Way Galaxy.
The bright triangle of
be found nestled between the two Magellanic clouds.
Above the LMC is the
constellation Volans. On the far right you will find the bright star
the constellation Carina. Directly above
Volans, you can make out the
Click on the image to get an
enlarged view, and refer to a good star chart to help you pick out these various
constellations and features of the beautiful area surrounding the South
Deep Sky Objects in Dorado
The following objects are on the Astronomical League's Southern Sky Binocular List
NOTE: Urn number indicates page in Uranometria
SA number indicates page in Sky Atlas 2000
PA is position angle for Galaxies
Photos and Text © Copyright Edward P. Flaspoehler, Jr.
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EDITOR: Edward P. Flaspoehler, Jr.
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