Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Southern Cross (or Crux Australis)

John Marine | 12/02/2010 06:25:00 PM | |
(UPDATED: May 31, 2012)

The Southern Cross (or Crux Australis) is the most distinctive constellation in the Southern Hemisphere. It is something I began to notice when I started seeing the flags of certain nations in Oceania and the South Pacific. It is the star arrangement you see on the flags of certain nations. The majority of nations are mostly Oceania and South Pacific nations. However, I learned the Southern Cross can also be found in one specific nation NOT in the South Pacific. More on that later in this blog post. This blog entry is a piece on the Southern Cross.


MAY 31 2012 - added a few simple edits

--- Stars of the Southern Cross ---

The Southern Cross consists of five stars. This picture below shows you the Southern Cross from space, and the info below introduces you to the five stars which comprise the Southern Cross:

Southern Cross
^ from: (and this was the best I could find) - the Southern Cross (or Crux Australis) from space.

Stars of the Southern Cross.

•Gamma Crux (86 lightyears)
•Delta Crux (256 lightyears)
•Beta Cruz (or Mimosa; 424 lightyears)
•Epsilon Crux (57 lightyears)
•Alpha 1 Crux (or Acrux; 368 lightyears)

From what I've read, the Southern Cross is important in navigation by sea. You must be south of 30° latittude (if you live in or are located in the Northern Hemisphere) to observe the rather small Crux constellation. Acrux is the brightest star of the Southern Cross. Therefore, you get an indication as to where south is by following the stars of the Southern Cross.

Nations Whose Flags Feature the Southern Cross.

Various South Pacific nations (including one nation that I didn't know had the Southern Cross) have flags with the Southern Cross showcased on them. The most popular country you'll see the Southern Cross on is on the flag of Australia. Other nations with the Southern Cross as part of their flag include (but are not limited to): Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and Samoa. Now remember I mentioned that there was one non-South Pacific nation bearing the Southern Cross on its flag? What is that one nation's flag that I didn't know had the Southern Cross? Ever heard of... Brazil? If you look at Brazil's flag, look down from the "P" in "Ordem e Progresso." You will see the Southern Cross marked on the Brazilian flag if you look down from the "P" in "Ordem e Progresso." You should be able to spot the familiar Southern Cross there. I did NOT know about any of this until I saw this on Wikipedia and actually studied Brazil's flag.

Hope you got to enjoy this blog post regarding the Southern Cross (or Crux Australis). I am just "Spring Cleaning" my unfinished blog posts of 2010, and this is one of them. Hope your enjoyed it! Read more about the Southern Cross by reading Crux on Wikipedia.

Thank you for reading!

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