Constellation Doradus


The Swordfish (lat. Doradus) is a 179 square degree small constellation of the south. In it you can find the Magellan Cloud.

How to spot Doradus

Doradus is formed from a chain of faint stars. If you find the second brightest star in the sky, Canopus (0.7 mag), the constellation is west of it. It is surrounded by Horologium, Reticulum, Hydrus, Pictor and Mensa.


At the end of the 16th century, a Dutch fleet traveled to the legendary Spice Islands to create new trade relationships. Under Captain Keyser, the positions of 135 stars were measured during this journey, which were later included by Peter Plancius in his sky maps. From these he recognized twelve new constellations, including "Den Dorado", the goldfish or the common gold mackerel. The Dorado is a predator of the tropical oceans that offered the crew a variety from the usual food. A few years later, the constellation was recorded as "Doradus" in the new Sky Atlas. Why the common gold mackerel got the name "swordfish" in English is unknown.