Southern Hemisphere

features of interest

Mu (|1) columbae 1 A 5th-magnitude star whose rapid movement suggests it was thrown out from the area of the Orion Nebula, south of Orion's belt, about 2.5 million years ago. Astronomers think it was once a member of a binary system that was disrupted by a close encounter with another star. The star thought to have been the other member of the binary is 6th-magnitude AE Aurigae, which is moving away from Orion in the opposite direction.

NGC 1851 5 A modest globular cluster visible as a hazy patch through small telescopes.

Pyxis Pyxidis (Pyx)

width m depth mm size ranking 65th fully visible 52°n-90°s

Pyxis is a faint, unremarkable southern constellation lying next to Puppis on the edge of the Milky Way. it represents a ship's magnetic compass and was introduced in the 18th century by the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille. Pyxis lies in the area that was once occupied by the mast of Argo Navis, the ship of the Argonauts, an ancient Greek constellation now divided into Carina, Puppis, and Vela. The brightest star, Alpha (a) Pyxidis, is of magnitude 3.7.

the compass features of interest

T PYxiDIS H 5 A so-called recurrent nova—that is, one that has undergone several recorded outbursts. Five eruptions have been seen since 1890, the last being in 1966. During these outbursts, it has brightened from 15th magnitude to 6th or 7th magnitude. It is likely to brighten again at any time and so become visible through binoculars.

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