Crux (Southern Cross) Constellation

What the Big and Little Bear constellations mean to us northern hemisphere observers, the crux constellation for southern hemisphere observers is the same. We briefly describe this constellation in our article.
Although the crux is the smallest constellation in terms of the area it occupies, it is one of the most known constellations due to its similarity to the Cross motif of the Christian religion.

The constellation of the Crux, which is also found in the flags of states such as Australia, New Zealand, Samoa and Papua New Guinea in the southern hemisphere, forms a cross shape with five major stars on the dense background of the Milky Way galaxy.
Crux, a constellation known in ancient Greek astronomy, was not generally considered a constellation in itself, but rather was portrayed as the back leg of the bull as an element of the Centaurus (Centaurus) constellation. Although it was cataloged in Algemest by Alexandria Ptolemius (Ptolemy) because it can be observed in the low latitudes of Egypt, the Crux constellation would have achieved its original reputation during geographical discoveries.

In his second trip, between 1501 and 1502, Explorer Amerigo Vespucci not only observed the Crux constellation, but also observed the Coal Bag Nebula, one of the nebulae within the constellation. The crux constellation was to be mapped for the first time in 1598 by Petrus Plancius and Jodocus Hondius in their correct coordinates in the sky maps of the age. It would be Frederick de Houtman, who first mapped it in 1603, regardless of the Centaurus constellation.
The southern cross constellation rises just above the little hillock. The bright stars seen in the west of the southern cross constellation are the brightest members of the Centaurus constellation, the Hadar and Rigil Kent stars.
The right and left sides of the Crux Constellation are surrounded by the Centaurus constellation. With 0.165 percent coverage of the night sky, it remains the smallest of the 88 constellations. In 1922, the acronym “Cru” was awarded by the International Astronomical Union.

Located in the southern hemisphere with an opening of 12 hours and 30 minutes and an altitude of 60 degrees, the constellation can only be seen today in areas further south than 30 degrees north latitude. Crux constellation can be observed in tropical regions from April to June. In addition, the Crux constellation is used to find directions in the southern hemisphere.

Now how do we find the south pole in the southern hemisphere? First of all, this is not as easy as finding Polaris. We find the south pole with three basic steps:

1) Downgrade Alpha Crucis and Gamma Crucis on a single line.
2) Combine the Alpha Centauri (Rigil Kent) and Beta Centauri (Hadar) stars of the neighboring constellation Centaurus into a lateral line. And take a second line downward in the middle of this line with steep pain.

3) Intersect the lines in the first and second steps in the down plane. Here is a two degree left of this intersection is the south pole.

It's not difficult!

The brightest star of the constellation is Acrux, that is Alpha Crucis. It is a multi-star system, when observed with a small telescope, two stars of class B in blue and white can be seen separately 321 light years from Earth.

Also known as Mimosa, Beta Crucis is the second brightest star of the constellation and has a mass of 16 times the Sun. It is 353 light years from where you are now. The other three stars that make up the constellation are Gacrux (88 light years), epsilon Cru (229 light years) and delta Cru (345 light years).
In this photo, you can easily see the constellation Crux along with the Coal Sack Nebula.
The Crux Constellation is also home to the Coalsack Nebula. This nebula, located 550 light years away, is in the "dark nebula" class. In a belt where the Milky Way is concentrated in the night sky, it looks like a black patch. Large-scale dust particles with dark nebulae cover frozen, nitrogen, carbon monoxide and other simple organic molecules. The resulting particles block the passage of visible light through the cosmic cloud and show absorption. Dark nebulae can be seen either when they cover part of a bright nebula, such as the Horsehead Nebula, or when they cover background stars such as the Coal Sack Nebula.


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