The Constellation Crux, the Southern Cross
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Crux - The Southern Cross
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you must be south of latitude
30 degrees to begin observing Crux, one of the smallest, but most
easily recognized constellations in the sky. Crux lies along the
Milky Way and is surrounded by Centaurus
the Centaur, on three sides.
Its brightest star is called Acrux, a combination of its Greek-letter
designation (Alpha) and the name of the constellation. Acrux, which
represents the foot of the cross, is a double-star system 200
light-years away. Despite its small area, Crux contains at least ten
open clusters visible with small telescopes.
Because it is not visible from most latitudes in the Northern
hemisphere, Crux is a modern constellation and has no Greek
or Roman myths associated with it. Crux was used by explorers
of the Southern hemisphere to point south since, unlike the
north celestial pole, the south celestial pole is not marked
by any bright star.
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