Crux - The Southern Cross

Published January 5, 2012 by Tim Trott

Crux commonly known as the Southern Cross (Crux Australis, in contrast to the Northern Cross), is the smallest of the 88 modern constellations, but nevertheless one of the most distinctive.

Location: Southern Constellation 12.5h RA -60° Dec

With the lack of a significant pole star in the southern sky (Sigma Octantis is closest to the pole, but is too faint to be useful for the purpose), two of the stars of Crux (Alpha and Gamma, Acrux and Gacrux respectively) are commonly used to mark south. Following the line defined by the two stars for approximately 4.5 times the distance between them leads to a point close to the Southern Celestial Pole.

Crux Mythology

Crux is important in Australian Aboriginal Astronomy. It, and the Coalsack, mark the head of the Emu in the sky in several Aboriginal cultures, while Crux itself is said to be a possum sitting in a tree. A stone image of the constellation has also been left at the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, Peru.

Crux Deep Space Objects

Northern Circumpolar
CamelopardalisCassiopeiaCepheusDracoLacertaUrsa Major
Ursa Minor
Northern Spring
AntliaBoötesCancerComa BerenicesCraterHydra
LeoLeo MinorVirgo
Northern Summer
AquilaCorona BorealisCygnusDelphinusEquuleusHercules
Northern Autumn
Northern Autumn
AurigaCanes VenaticiCanis MajorCanis MinorCetusEridanus
Southern Constellations
CircinusColumbaCorona AustralisCorvusCruxDorado
PhoenixPictorPiscis AustrinusPuppisPyxisReticulum
SagittariusScorpiusSculptorSextansTelescopiumTriangulum Australe


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