Constellations of Puppis, Pyxis and Antlia
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Constellations of Puppis, Pyxis and Antlia
Roll mouse over picture to see constellation outlines
Image and text ©2008 Akira Fujii/David Malin Images.

In the picture above north is at the top and the image covers 56.0 x 70.0 degrees.
Image centre is located at 08:36:51.1 -23:41:05 (H:M:S, D:M:S, J2000) Astrometric data from Astrometry.net.

Constellations of Puppis, Pyxis and Antlia
Best seen in the early evening in March-April

Puppis (the Stern) is the largest of the four constellations that were constructed out of the great vessel Argo Navis. The original division was made by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in the 1750s, but it was formalised by the International Astronomical Union in the 1930s. Argo Navis was the only one of Ptolemy's original 48 constellations that the IAU did not accept. Unfortunately we do not have a detailed image of the complete constellation, but parts can be found on Antlia, Carina, Canis Major, Horologium as well as in full on Argo Navis.

There are only two named stars in Puppis; xi (ξ) Puppis is known as Asmidiske, a name shared with iota (ι) Carinae, and zeta (ζ) Puppis is called Naos, the ancient Greek word for ship. Though zeta Pup looks faint in our picture, it is one of the hottest O-type (young, blue, massive) stars known in the Galaxy, with a luminosity over 20,000 times that of the Sun. Such massive stars have a short life that ends in a dramatic supernova explosion. The star is 1400 light years distant, so it may have already happened.

Antlia (originally Antlia Pneumatica, the Air Pump) is an unremarkable constellation invented by the Abbé Nicolas de Lacaille in the 1750s. It is hemmed in by the meandering body of Hydra to the north and the sparkling constellations of the Milky Way to the south. It contains a fine planetary nebula, NGC 3132 and a beautiful spiral galaxy, NGC 2997 (see below). There are no named stars in Antlia, but we do have an alternative view of Antlia.

Pyxis (Pyxis Nautica, the Mariner's Compass) is the least interesting fragment of the great vessel Argo Navis. We also offer an alternative view of Pyxis and a more detailed description. There are no named stars in Pyxis

Constellations adjoining Puppis
Canis Major, Carina, Columba, Hydra, Monoceros, Pictor, Pyxis, Vela.
Constellations adjoining Antlia: Centaurus, Hydra, Pyxis, Vela,
Constellations adjoining Pyxis: Antlia, Hydra, Puppis, Vela.
Related images in Puppis (see also under 'Related Images' on pages the below)
AAT 17.   The spiral galaxy NGC 2997 in Antlia
AAT 17a. The spiral galaxy NGC 2997, wide field in Antlia
AAT 71.     The head of cometary globule CG 4 in Puppis
AAT 107.   NGC 2437-8, planetary nebula in open cluster.
AAT 113.   M93, NGC 2447, an open cluster in Puppis
AAT 115.   Random starfield in Puppis

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David Malin, 2009 October 15