CRUX

| CRUX Chart | Midnight Culmination | Description | Asterisms |

Constellation Data

  • Name: CRUX
  • Translation: Cross
  • Abbreviation: Cru
  • Genitive: Crucis
  • Size: 88
  • Regions: Southern
  • Located Between: Centaurus
  • RA: 12 hours
  • Decl: -60 degrees
  • Season: Fall
  • Midnight Culmination: March 28



What is the Genitive form?
What is Right Ascension (RA)?
Is this constellation ever visible from my latitude? What is Declination?

Where should I look for a constellation on a date before or after its midnight culmination? What is Midnight Culmination?

Description

Once part of the constellation Centaurus, Crux was separated by early modern explorers. Crux now lies tucked underneath the belly of the Centaur, and is the smallest of the 88 constellations. Located within the Milky Way, its five main stars form a "crosse so fayre and beutiful, that none other hevenly sygne may be compared...", wrote Andrea Corsali in 1517. Because of the splendor of Crux, South America was once called the "Land of the Holy Cross."

Dante wrote, in the opening canto of Purgatorio, of four stars near the southern pole (representing the four civic virtues). Later commentators have interpreted these as referring to Crux (although this is doubtful):
The lovely planet, love's own quickener,
Now lit to laughter all the eastern sky,
Veiling the Fishes that attended her.
Right-hand I turned, and, setting me to spy
That alien pole, beheld four stars, the same
The first men saw, and since, no living eye;
It seemed the heavens exulted in their flame--
O widowed world beneath the northern pole,
Forever famished of the sight of them!"

Key:
The lovely planet = Venus
Fishes = Pisces
Alien pole = south celestial pole
The first men = Adam and Eve before the expulsion from Eden


Southern Circumpolar Motion: Crux vs. Ursa Major


The Real Thing

Asterisms

Southern Cross

What is an Asterism?

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