"So if you look at the Southern Cross it actually represents a possum at the top of a tree," explains Dr Hamacher. In a letter to his patron he drew a rough diagram of it and wrote "this cross is so fair and beautiful". The Australian flag featuring the Union Jack, the Commonwealth star and the five stars of the Southern Cross was first flown in 1901. This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Stellarium/ABC Genelle WeuleCloseFrom there, you need to count how many stars you can see using just your eyes (not binoculars or a telescope) and match it to the … The new star appears to be orbiting Beta Crucis, the westernmost star in the Southern Cross, once every 2,000 years. Its five stars have been used as a sign of rebellion and as a sometimes controversial symbol of national pride. That represents the possum.". It was featured on the band's Daylight Again album and was released as a single in September 1982. The southern cross is the best known constelation in the southern hemisphere. As the Southern Cross spins around the sky once a day we can use it to find the time as long as we know the date. The brightest star is Alpha Crucis, also known as Acrux. When viewed through binoculars it appears as … "The very top star ... is red. The Southern Cross, or Crux, is one of the best known constellations in the southern hemisphere, and is easily recognizable for the cross-shaped asterism formed by its four brightest stars. The Southern Cross is familiar to many cultures in the southern hemisphere and is featured in the national flags of Brazil, Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and Samoa. The brightest star is at the bottom and, moving clockwise, the main stars are progressively dimmer. The closest is 88 light-years from Earth, the furthest 364 light-years away. Mr Evans says many Australians would be surprised to learn it didn't become the official flag until the Queen signed it into law during her first visit to Australia. In areas of South Australia and Queensland the Southern Cross represents a sting ray. "You'll find you'll get a garish yellow or green glow from the sky, which is not what you want.". The Italian explorer Andrea Corsali, who worked for the powerful Giuliano de Medici of Florence, observed the Southern Cross during a Portuguese voyage to India. But this type of image, which was taken this time last year near Mudgee in New South Wales, can only be shot in a dark sky area. The five stars. "With the shutdown of a lot of industry, the sky has become a lot more transparent than it has been for a number of years," he said. Over the last week there has been a discussion in Column 8 (Sydney Morning Herald) about the stars of the Southern Cross. The Southern Cross is the highest in the Sky during spring, in the month of May. With the two pointers (which belong to the constellation of Centaurus) it can be used as a navigational tool to find the South Pole. "And that is the one we know now that proudly shows the Southern Cross. You can also note the weather and any other conditions, such as nearby street lights, that might affect your view. It can easily be recognised by the obvious cross shape and by the 2 bright pointer stars to one side. [an error occurred while processing this directive]. The original letter hasn't survived but a 1516 copy inscribed on vellum is held in the collection of the State Library of New South Wales and has been on display in the Mapping our World exhibition at the National Library of Australia. Acrux’s position is RA: 12h 26m 35s, dec: -63° 05′ 57″. "It is only since 1954 that we have officially had a national flag," he says. Professor Matthew Colless, the Director of the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian National University, is a big fan of the Southern Cross. "Sometimes the two pointer stars represent fisherman pursuing the sting ray or it might represent two sharks chasing the sting ray.". It appears on the flags of Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Papua The stars of the Southern Cross – Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon Crucis – form an asterism that really looks more like a kite than a cross.Two of the brightest stars that form the cross, Alpha Crucis and Beta Crucis, are among the brightest stars in the sky and easily visible from the southern hemisphere. 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I chose to study at Southern Cross University because there's only three universities in Australia that actually do osteopathy and I really love the lifestyle near the beach. With the help of binoculars or a telescope, one can see a cluster of many blue and red stars in the Southern … It's possible to see from latitudes like the far-southern contiguous U.S., but difficult. The full image below, taken by Mr Ward, is made up of a series of images stitched together to create a mosaic of the southern night sky from the pointers in Centaurus on the left through the Southern Cross to the Carina Nebula, a shining pink cloud of excited gas on the right. Southern Cross Stars. The Southern Cross itself is above and a little to the left of the Pointers. The Globe At Night is an international citizen science program that has been mapping night sky light pollution each month for the past 12 years. It's too soon to say, A beginner's guide to finding stars and planets, Where did the Moon landings happen? Alpha-2 is a single star about 13 times as massive as the sun. "And we're hoping to get as many people as we can to do that during International Dark Sky week, particularly during COVID lockdowns because we think there's actually a vast difference at the moment.". The Southern Cross is a constellation that is often shown to those learning about the night sky. The Southern Cross has a total of five stars. For a few years it was also a popular tattoo. The first thing you'll notice after dusk south of the equator is that the northern constellations appear upside down. Inhabitants of the Southern Hemisphere, including the Incas of South America and indigenous Australians, have always been familiar with the Southern Cross. With the naked eye, one can only see 5 stars in the Southern Cross. The Southern Cross climbs highest - due south - in the evening around now. "For me, as for many Australians, it's the most famous, the most visible, most memorable and most personally relevant constellation.". Dr Duane Hamacher, a research scientist and ethno-astronomer at the University of New South Wales, says that because there are hundreds of different Aboriginal language groups there are many different stories about the Southern Cross. The Southern Cross, formed by five stars, is commonly used in navigation to find the true south. The image shows the thousands of stars in the night sky, as well as the dark nebula at the foot of the cross known as the Coalsack or head of the Indigenous constellation The Emu, as well as the different colours in the main stars. Before you participate in the project, visit the Globe at Night website and put in your location. The Southern Cross has also been used as a sign of resistance in modern protest movements such as the anti-coal seam gas campaign. If you're in a more light polluted area you will be able to see only the brightest stars, but if you're in a dark sky area you may be able to see up to magnitude 6. Count them for the Globe at Night science project. The Southern Cross is officially an asterism, a collection of stars that belongs to the constellation of Crux. It’s made of two stars in Carina and two in Vela, and it’s slightly larger and more oblique than the true Southern Cross, and more diamond-shaped. "It tells people about when seasons are changing, when food sources are coming in and also gives them a social aspect," Dr Hamacher says. While people looking at the northern skies this week will be counting stars in the constellation of Leo, we can look to the southern skies to find the Southern Cross. The Southern Cross appears on the national flags of New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Brazil as well as on the Australian flag. The constellation Crux, also known as the Southern Cross. 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