Dorado Constellation Facts, Myth, Location and Stars

The Dorado constellation, also known as the goldfish, swordfish, or dolphinfish is the focus of this article.

This constellation is a chain of very dim stars located near the very brilliant star Canopus.

Dorado is known as the goldfish or sometimes swordfish, but the constellation actually represents the dolphinfish; a species located within tropical waters.

The shape of this constellation depicts a chain of fish swimming toward the celestial south pole. The faint outline of stars represents the dolphinfish.

Dorado Constellation Facts, Myth, Location and Stars


The universe is a beautiful unknown galaxy filled with billions of stars, constellations, and planets way beyond our knowledge and visual and physical limitations.

Constellations play a huge part in history and within ancient stories and beliefs. This particular constellation has been identified for hundreds of years and is unique in its chemistry.

The Dorado constellation was first observed, acknowledged, and introduced around the 1590s by Dutch explorers Pieter Dirkszoon and Fredrick De Houtman.

In the year 1603, the Dorado constellation was revealed in Johann Bayer’s star atlas Uranometria. 

Abbreviation: Dor

Genetive: Doradus

Location: Southern Hemisphere

Size Ranking: 72

Origin: Keyser/ De Houtman

Dorado Constellation Myths

It is said that the dolphinfish that Dorado is named after would chase and catch flying fish, so Dorado was placed in the sky to pursue the constellation “Volans”, which means flying fish.

Dorado, among other constellations discovered by the Dutch explorers, was named after animals.

Features of Dorado

Dorado is famously known for its Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC).

This is an irregular galaxy near the milky way.

This LMC belongs to WOH G64, one of the largest stars known in existence.

The LMC also belongs to the Tarantula Nebula, which is the most active star-forming area in the galaxy.

Location of Dorado

Dorado is located in the Southern Hemisphere within the first quadrant (SQ1).

Dorado occupies a space of about 179 square degrees.

For comparison, a full night sky has an area of approximately 41,253 square degrees.

This constellation can be seen at latitudes of +20 degrees and -90 degrees.

Dorado Constellation Stars

Dorado contains two stars with known planets, the brightest being Alpha Doradus.

This constellation does not experience meteor shower activity, unlike a variety of other constellations.

Dorado is among ten other constellations belonging to the Johann Bayer Family of Constellations.

The other constellations in this family are Apus, Chamaeleon, Grus, Hydrus, Indus, Musca, Pavo, Phoenix, Tucana, and Volans.

Dorado contains only one formally named star called Naledi (WASP-62)

Alpha Doradus

Alpha Doradus is the brightest star in the constellation with a luminosity that varies between 3.26 to 3.30 magnitudes.

This star is approximately 169 light years away in distance.

Alpha Doradus contains 110 suns within its star.

Beta Doradus

Beta Doradus is a Cepheid variable star with a luminosity range of 4.05 to 3.45 magnitudes, making it the second brightest star in the constellation.

It is approximately 1050 light years from Earth. Beta Doradus also contains 2600 suns of its own.

Gamma Doradus

Gamma Doradus is a prototype of variable stars within Dorado.

The pulsating brightness varies by less than 1/10th of a magnitude of 4.25 and is approximately 66.2 light years in distance.

Gamma Doradus contains 7 suns within its star.

Delta Doradus

Delta Doradus belongs to the spectral type A7V.

Also known as the Moon’s South Pole star, it has a magnitude of 4.34 and is approximately 145 light years away.

Delta Doradus contains 34 suns within its star.

R Doradus (HD 29712)

R Doradus is classified as a Mira variable, a red giant star belonging to the spectral class M8 III.

This star is considered to be the second largest-sized star when observed from Earth.

R Doradus has a visual magnitude of 5.40 and is approximately 178 light years in distance.

S Doradus

S Doradus is a luminous blue variable hypergiant and one of the brightest stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC).

It is one of the brightest stars known, but at a distance of 169,000 light years from earth, it cannot be viewed by the naked eye.

It has a visual magnitude between 8.6 to 11.5.

Zeta Doradus

Zeta Doradus is a star of the spectral type F7 V.

This star has a visual magnitude of 4.68 and is 38 light years from Earth.

By the year 6400, this star will move to the constellation Pictor and will no longer be part of the Dorado constellation.

Zeta Doradus also contains 2 suns of its own within its star.

HE 0437-5439

HE 0437-5439 is a hypervelocity star that is unbound in Dorado and believed to be around 30 million years old.

This star appears to have been receding away at the speed of 723 kilometers per second.

It is approximately 200,000 light years in distance from earth and has a magnitude of 16.3.

This star carries a mass nearly nine times that of the Sun.

Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC)

The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is an irregular galaxy located within the constellations of Dorado and Mensa.

It is the third closest galaxy to ours and is a satellite galaxy to the Milky Way.

The Large Magellanic Cloud is ten billion times the mass of the Sun, but it is only 1/100 of the size of the Milky Way.

The galaxy of the Large Magellanic Cloud has a radius of approximately 14,000 light years and is located 157,000 light years away.

This galaxy has a visual magnitude of 0.9.

The Large Megellanic Cloud contains approximately 700 open clusters, 400 planetary nebulae, and 60 globular star clusters.

This galaxy is an epicenter of innumerable supergiant and giant stars.

Wrap Up

The constellation of Dorado may not be one of the most popular constellations in the sky, but it is a very interesting constellation.

Comprised of several stars with varying functions and belonging to an irregular galaxy, the Dorado is a beautiful combination of celestial magnitude.

Whether you refer to the Dorado as a goldfish, a swordfish, or a dolphinfish, the Dorado is a constellation of great meaning.

Interesting in learning more? You might also like:

Dorado Constellation Facts

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