FUZZY SPOT, March 1999, Pyxis

Pyxis is a small constellation sitting on the edge of the winter Milky Way next to Puppis.  The constellation is supposed to be a compass, and according to some accounts it was part of Argo Navis, although most sources dismiss this claim.  There are only 3 fairly bright stars in this constellation, forming sort of an exclamation point.  Even though it is sitting on the Milky Way, it is poor in deep-sky object, with only 7 objects showing up in Sky Atlas-2000 and only 6 in Luginbuhl and Skiff's book.  I have only observed 4 of these objects, so that will leave room for some discussion at the deep sky meeting.

        NGC 2613 (08h33.3 -22 58) Here is a Herschel 400 galaxy which I observed at 100X as somewhat bright, somewhat large, and very elongated 3:1 NW/SE.  It slightly brightens to the middle without a nucleus.  There is some possible mottling or perhaps a dust lane especially on the NE side.  Using averted vision makes the elongation come out.

        NGC 2627 (08h37.3 -29 57) This is the other Herschel 400 object in the constellation, an open cluster which is pretty large, pretty bright, very rich, and pretty well condensed.  It takes on a `V' shape with the bowl being very dark.  The apex contains a very bright star on the W end, with the N branch or limb being the richer of the two.  There are about 3 levels of stars over some granularity and I counted about 65 stars.  This is a very nice shaped cluster.

        NGC 2635 (08h38.5 -34 46)  I have no observation for this cluster, nor is it in Luginbuhl and Skiffs book, so here is the description from the SAC data base: "Cl,pmC,irr triangle,st 13 Asterism?" which I believe translates into cluster, pretty much condensed, irregular triangle shaped, stars magnitude 13, may be an asterism instead of a cluster.

        NGC 2658 (08h43.4 -32 39)  This is an open cluster and is described by Luginbuhl and Skiff as "This is a moderately faint and irresolved cluster in 15 cm.  Among several stars appearing in the cluster is a mag. 10 star on the SW edge.  30 cm shows an irregular, broad concentration of stars and haze.  At 225X about 20 stars are visible in a 4' area."

        NGC 2818 and NGC 2818A (09h16.0 -36 37) I consider this the "mini M-46" with a planetary nebula and an open cluster visually combined.  The cluster is somewhat small, pretty faint, with 2 levels of stars over much granularity and about 20 stars seen.  Using averted makes many more stars pop out.  The cluster is elongated E/W.  The planetary nebula is on the SW side of the cluster and is seen as a fairly featureless blob.  I considered it as very small, little bright, round, brighter towards the middle, with no elongation or anularity seen.  Using the UHC filter helps pull it out of the cluster.  These objects probably would be very nice from the S where they would come overhead.

        NGC 2888 (09 26.3 -28 02)  The last object in Sky Atlas-2000 is a galaxy on the far E edge of the constellation.  According to Luginbuhl and Skiff it is "Small and moderately faint in 15 cm, this galaxy is elongated approximately SE-NW and shows some concentration toward the center.  It is an oval capsule-shaped object in 30 cm, extending to 45" x 30" in pa 165 degrees.  The halo has a moderate surface brightness and is evenly concentrated to a stellar nucleus."

Herschel 400 Objects
2613, 2627
SAC's 110 Best of the NGC Objects