The Southern Cross

Abbreviation: Cru
Genitive: Crucis

The constellation of Crux

Crux was visible to the ancient Greeks who considered it part of the constellation of Centaurus. It was separated into a distinct constellation by European explorers to the southern hemisphere in the sixteenth century. It is not to be confused with the asterism, the Northern Cross, in the northern skies.

Notable Features

Designation Name Description
α Cru Aa Acrux The unimaginatively named Acrux is a first magnitude star.
β Cru Mimosa The second brightest star in the constellation is also first magnitude.
γ Cru Gacrux This star is a wide optical double.
C94 Jewel Box The Jewel Box is an open star cluster visible to the naked eye. Binoculars or a small telescope reveals the individual stars which are a variety of colours.
C98 This is another open cluster.
C99 Coalsack Nebula In constrast to the colourful Jewel Box, this is a dark nebula which obscures the light of the Milky Way behind it.