Argo Navis

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The constellation Argo Navis drawn by Johannes Hevelius

Argo Navis (or simply Argo) was a large constellation in the southern sky that has since been divided into three constellations. It represented the Argo, the ship used by Jason and the Argonauts in Greek mythology. The abbreviation was "Arg" and the genitive was "Argus Navis".

Argo Navis is the only one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy that is no longer officially recognized as a constellation. It was unwieldy due to its enormous size: were it still considered a single constellation, it would be the largest of all. In 1752, the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille subdivided it into Carina (the keel, or the hull, of the ship), Puppis (the poop deck, or stern), Vela (the sails), and, according to some,[1][2][3][4] Pyxis (the compass, formerly the mast). When Argo Navis was split, its Bayer designations were also split. Carina has the α, β and ε, Vela has γ and δ, Puppis has ζ, and so on.

The constellation Pyxis (the mariner's compass) occupies an area which in antiquity was considered part of Argo's mast (called Malus). While its Bayer designations are separate from those of Carina, Puppis and Vela, having its own α, β and γ, for example, various modern authorities hold that Pyxis was in fact part of the Greek conception of Argo Navis.[5]

The Maori had several names for what was the constellation Argo, including Te Waka-o-Tamarereti, Te Kohi-a-Autahi, and Te Kohi.[6]

See also[edit]

External links and references[edit]

  1. ^ John Scalzi (2008) Rough Guide to the Universe, p. 240 (ISBN 9781405383707)
  2. ^ David H. Kelley, et al. (2011) Exploring Ancient Skies: A Survey of Ancient and Cultural Astronomy, p. 12 (9781441976246)
  3. ^ Emily Winterburn (2009) The Stargazer's Guide, p. 124 (ISBN 9780061976377)
  4. ^ Carole Stott, et al. (2006) Eyewitness Companions: Astronomy, p. 210 (ISBN 9780756648459
  5. ^ See Scalzi, Kelley, Winterburn, supra.
  6. ^ Makemson 1941, p. 279.
  • Makemson, Maud Worcester (1941). The Morning Star Rises: an account of Polynesian astronomy. Yale University Press. 

Media related to Argo Navis at Wikimedia Commons