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Pyxis

The Compass

Abbreviation: Pyx
Genitive: Pyxidis

The constellation of Pyxis

French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille travelled to South Africa in the mid-eighteenth century where he constructed an observatory and spent two years observing the southern skies. Not only did he catalogue nearly 10,000 southern stars, he also surveyed 42 'nebulous' objects and devised over a dozen new constellations. One of those constellations was Pyxis, the mariner's compass (not to be confused with the draughtsman's compass). It was originally called Pyxis Nautica. Despite its location in the sky, it is not part of the ancient constellation Argo Navis.