Constellation Compass (Pyxis - Pyx)

The name, the story & the myth of Compass

The constellation of the Compass, Pyxis Nautica (literally "little nautical box"), was introduced by Nicolas de Lacaille in the 18th century, when he separated the gigantic constellation of the Ship Argo, famous for the history of Jason and his Argonauts. Therefore, this constellation is the compass of that ship. It is an area of sky known since Ptolemy's time, although it is not particularly brilliant.
After the reform of the constellations launched by the International Astronomical Union in 1930 the simple name of Pyxis was adopted.


Given the weakness of the stars of the Compass it is not at all easy to find it in the night sky. A clue can be given by the Orion's Belt, which can be continued southeast past the Big Dog and the Poppa. The opposition is around February, even if the Compass is at the limits of observability due to its low declination.

Heavenly bodies

The brightest star is the alpha star of the constellation, with a magnitude that however is equal to 3.7, followed by beta with magnitude 4. Alpha is a blue-white star, perhaps variable, 13,000 light-years away and with a very high surface temperature. In the Compass, however, there is a recurring nova, T Pyx.
Telescopic objects are also very rare. Only the galaxy NGC 2613 is of minimal interest.

Audio Video Constellation Compass (Pyxis - Pyx)
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