Do you know the constellation Delphinus?
This small, very recognizable, constellation can be found in the summer sky. It really does evoke the marine mammal despite the faint stars that compose it. It already appeared in the 48 constellations of Ptolemy's sky. A mythological story tells that a dolphin convinced Amphitrite to marry Poseidon, saying he was a respectable person. As a reward, Poseidon placed the dolphin in the sky.
While most bright stars have names coming from the body parts of animals or characters they represented, none of the stars of Delphinus had a name in ancient catalogs. But in todays catalogs, the brightest star of the constellation is called Sualocin and the second is Rotanev.
What is the origin of these mysterious names ? That’s the question that was put to the Reverend Thomas William Webb. He was a British astronomer who puzzled-out that these names first appeared in a catalog published in 1814 by the Observatory of Palermo in Sicily, where Niccolo Cacciatore officiated as assistant to the famous director Giuseppe Piazzi, discoverer of the asteroid Ceres some years before.
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