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Pyxis, The Compass Constellation Facts and Mythology

Pyxis Constellation Star Map

Pyxis (Pronounciation:Picks-is, Abbrev:Pyx, Latin:Pyxidis) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Pyxis takes up 220.833 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 0.54% of the night sky. Pyxis is the 65th largest in terms of size in the night sky.

The constellation name means The Compass . It was not one of the original constellations that had been devised by Ptolemy, instead it was created by Abbé Nicolas Louis de Lacaille years later.

There are 3 stars that make up the main constellation. The hipparcos satellite scanned and detailed 629 stars. There are 18 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the constellation on a very clear night sky.

Pyxis is not a member of the Zodiac group of twelve constellations that appear when the Sun sets. Pyxis is a southern hemispheric constellation which means it can't be seen easily or at all from the northern hemisphere.

The distance to Pyxis is not calculable because all the stars that make up the constellation are at various distances. The best answer for distance to Pyxis is to calculate the average distance of the stars.

There are 4 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Pyxis. For a list of named stars, that is stars that don't start HD or HIP, please visit Pyxis Star List Page.

There are no deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are no non-Messier deep space objects in this constellation that are covered at present on this site.

The image at the top right of this page was generated using Night Vision, a free to use and download application by Brian Simspon.

Pyxis Star Facts

The caveat of these stars are that they are catalogued on this site. If you know of a star that is nearer or further then do let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the site. The stars mentioned are from the Hipparcos catalogue or have been added because of their special status.

HD 72673, Nearest Star

The nearest star to Earth is HD 72673 which is roughly about 39.82 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 73256 which is about 123.17 Light Years.

HIP 43041, Furthest Star

The furthest star that is located in the constellation is HIP 43041 and it is 81540.84 light years away from the Sun. The furthest figure is derived from either the 1997 or 2007 Hipparcos star catalogue parallax figure and it has been known to produce distances that are wrong.

Alpha Pyxidis, Brightest Star in Pyxis

The brightest star in Pyxis is Alpha Pyxidis and is located about 12.10 light years from the Sun. The star has a apparent magnitude of 3.68 but an absolute magnitude of -3.47 when the star is viewed from a distance of 10 Parsecs or 32.6 Light Years. The star is recognised as being the brightest in the constellation as it has the Bayer status of Alpha.

HD 73072, Dimmest Visible Star

The dimmest star that can be seen in Pyxis with the naked eye is HD 73072. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 5.95. The dimmest star that a person is able to see with their naked eye is 6.0 magnitude based on the table in the reference. Ref: University of Michigan.

Pyxis Mythology

There is no Greek Legend behind this constellation. It was created by Abbé Nicolas Louis de Lacaille to fill in the voids in the astronomical charts.

Pyxis Facts


NamePyxis
AbbreviationPyx
Is a Zodiac Sign No
Brightest StarAlpha Pyxidis
Area220.833 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky0.54%
Size Position65th
Hemisphere Southern
Site Exoplanet Count4
Meteor Shower Count5
Nearest StarHD 72673
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)HD 73256
Brightest StarAlpha Pyxidis
Dimmest StarHD 73072
Furthest StarHIP 43041
Bright Star Count18
Hipparcos Star Count629
Main Star Count3
Messier Deep Space Object Count0
*Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count0
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsHydra
Puppis
Vela
Antlia

*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.



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