As the stream of the winter Milky Way flows southward toward the horizon, it passes through eastern Orion and Canis Major, and continues through a region that looks nearly starless to the naked eye. Much of this empty patch of sky belongs to the constellation Puppis.
Puppis is one of three constellations carved from the old star-picture Argo Navis. Dating from ancient Greek mythology, the Argo was the mythical ship Jason and the Argonauts used to search for the Golden Fleece. When viewed from Greece, the stars of Argo skimmed the southern horizon, as if the ship were “sailing” across the Mediterranean Sea.
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