Constellation Stern of the Argonauts' ship (Puppis-Pup)


The name, the history, the myth

The constellation Stern of the Argonauts' ship, together with those of the Keel of Argonauts' ship, the Sail of the Argonauts' ship and the Compass of the Argonauts' ship, derives from the dismemberment operated by Nicholas de La Caille in the 18th century against the ancient constellation of the Ship Argo, famous for having brought Jason and his Argonauts on the Colchis to conquer the Golden Fleece. It is the widest part of the four (five if we count also Malus, the "Master Tree"), as well as the most northern part of the ship, the only one observable in the northern hemisphere. For the myth connected to it we refer to the constellation of the Carena.


Observation

The constellation is located entirely in the southern hemisphere but is visible low on our horizons during the winter season, under Sirius of the Greater Dog.
It is possible to see the whole constellation from latitudes below 39°, while from higher latitudes you can only have partial visibility. In 1942 the Poppa hosted a nova.

Heavenly bodies

From the stellar point of view it is not one of the brightest constellations, even if twelve stars are under the fourth magnitude. The alpha star is missing (just for the redistribution of the original nomenclature of the Ship Argo), and the brightest is Zeta Puppis with magnitude 2,3 and famous for being among the hottest known stars, with 30.000 superficial Kelvin. Rho is a variable star of 0.2 magnitudes over a period of 3 hours and 23 minutes.
From a non-stellar point of view, instead, the constellation contains three objects from Messier's Catalogue: M46, M47 and M93, all open clusters.
In addition to these, there is another noteworthy open cluster, NGC 2477, and a planetary nebula, NGC 2438.





Audio Video Constellation Stern of the Argonauts' ship (Puppis-Pup)
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