Constellation Pyxis (Compass)

Pyxis: IAU Constellation Map [150]


Pyxis is between Antlia and Puppis, north of Vela. It is an inconspicuous constellation made up of stars of almost 4th magnitude. The area is 221 square degrees and the center culminates around midnight on February 3rd. [9, 15]

Data for constellation Pyxis [150]
IAU NamePyxis
IAU GenitivePyxidis
IAU Abbr.Pyx
English NameCompass
Opposition31 January
Season (47° N)December … March
Right Ascension08h 26m 43s … 09h 27m 37s
Declination-37° 17' 31" … -17° 24' 41"
Area221 deg2
Neighbours (N↻)Hya, Pup, Vel, Ant

Deep-Sky Object Descriptions


Constellation Argo Navis
Constellation Argo Navis: Illustration from «Uranometria» by Johann Bayer, copper engraving by Alexander Mair, 1603 [28]

Mythology and History

Pyxis is the smallest and most inconspicuous part of the original constellation Argo Navis, dissolved in 1752 by Abbé Nicolas Louis de Lacaille. The importance of the magnetic compass needle for seafaring is undisputed, although the Argo Navis certainly did not have a compass on board at the time. Pyxis is the Latin term for can or compass case. [7, 21]


  • [7] «Der grosse Kosmos-Himmelsführer» von Ian Ridpath und Wil Tirion; Kosmos Verlag; ISBN 3-440-05787-9
  • [9] «Drehbare Sternkarte SIRIUS» von H. Suter-Haug; Hallwag-Verlag, Bern
  • [15] «Hartung's Astronomical Objects for Southern Telescopes» by David Malin and David J. Frew; Melbourne University Press 1995; ISBN 0-522-84553-3
  • [21] «Taschenatlas der Sternbilder» von Josef Klepesta und Antonin Rükl; Verlag Werner Dausien; ISBN 3-7684-2384-0
  • [28] «Uranometria omnium asterismorum continens schemata, nova methodo delineata aereis laminis expressa» Johann Bayer, Augsburg, 1603; DOI:10.3931/e-rara-309
  • [150] IAU: The Constellations, 11. Oktober 2020;