Pyxis was introduced by Abbé de la Caille, and associated with the giant
'superconstellation' of Argo Navis. In naming the constellation, though, de la Caille
encountered a problem: there is no Latin word for 'compass', because the Romans did
not have them. To solve this, he chose the word pyxis, which literally means
'little box'. The full name of the constellation, not now used, was
Pyxis Nautica, meaning 'The Mariner's Box' or 'The Mariner's Compass'.
Though it lies on the plane of the Milky Way, there are few bright stars in this constellation.
The brightest is Alpha Pyxidis, with a magnitude of just +3.7. It lies more than 800 light
years away, but it is a highly luminous body and hence visible from Earth. The other stars of
the constellation are a little closer, but all are fainter than magnitude +4.0.
Only one of the stars of Pyxis lies anywhere close to the Earth's solar system: BSC 3430
is a binary star, consisting of a pair of yellow dwarf stars, that lies 65 light years
from the Sun.
The stars of Pyxis fall within a slice of sky that lies within the disc of
our home Galaxy, and so appear within the band of the Milky Way in the night sky.