Puppisis a rich constellation that lies in the Milky Way next to Canis Major. It represents the stern of the ship of the Agronauts. Ancient Greek astronomers represented the whole ship as one constellation, Argo Navis. This was later divided into three parts, with Puppis being the largest section. Because it is only part of a once-larger constellation, Puppis has no stars labeled Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, or Epsilon.
Depiction: The Stern
Highest in the Sky: January to February
Size Ranking: 20th
Coverage Area: 73 Sq. Degrees
Right Acension: 8 hours
Visibility: 34°N to 90°S
M46: Open cluster
M47: Open cluster
NGC 2438: Planetary nebula
NGC 2440: Planetary nebula
NGC 2451: Open cluster
NGC 2477: Open cluster
NGC 2546: Open cluster
Naos, Zeta Puppis
Azmidiske, Xi Puppis
Best Viewed Objects/Stars
Zeta Puppis (Naos)
The brightest star in the constellation, at magnitude 2.2. It is a hot and luminous blue-white supergiant, lying about 1,400 light-years away. Its name is derived from a Greek word meaning "ship."
A double star. A small telescope reveals two similar blue-white stars of almost equal brightness at magnitudes 4.5 and 4.6.
A wide pair of unrelated stars, each visible to the naked eye. L1 Puppis is a blue-white star of magnitude 4.9, while L2 is a red giant that varies between about 3rd and 6th magnitudes every 5 months or so.
An eclipsing binary that varies between magnitudes 4.4 and 4.9 every 1 day and 11 hours.
An open cluster just visible to the naked eye and appearing the same size as the full Moon. A small telescope resolves its stars. It lies over 5,000 light-years away.
A scattered open cluster visible to the naked eye and slightly larger than M46 but much closer, about 1,500 light-years away. Its brightest stars are of 6th magnitude.
An open cluster visible to the naked eye and through binoculars. It lies 1,000 light-years away. Its brightest member is an orange giant, c Puppis, of magnitude 3.6.
An open cluster 4,000 light-years away. It is so rich that it resembles a globular cluster when seen through binoculars. A telescope will resolve individual stars.