|alpha Doradus||magn. 3,5||RA: 04h 33m 59.81s||Dec: -55° 02' 42.1"|
|Description||Not very wide constellation, situated to the southwest of Carina. In Dorado there is one of the brightest variable cepheid stars: it is beta Doradus, which varies between the magnitude 3,8 and 4,7 in 9 days and 29 hours.
But the principal characteristic of the constellation is the Large Magellanic Cloud, the greatest and the nearest of the satellite galaxies of our Milky Way. Placed at about 180.000 light-years away, it appears with an irregular shape, visible to the naked eye as a diffused spot. It is probably composed by almost 10 milliards of stars, quite a lot of which are very bright and visible with binoculars and small telescopes. The other satellite galaxy, the Small Magellanic Cloud, is in Tucana.
In the Large Magellanic Cloud there a shining hydrogen cloud: it is NGC 2070, known also with the name of Tarantula Nebula, considering that it remembers the semblances of a spider. In the nebula's center there is a cluster of supergiant stars.
|The constellation was drawn by the Dutch navigators Pieters Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederik de Houtman towards the end of the XVI century. In the heavenly atlas of Johann Bode it is also called Xiphias, that is Sword fish.|