I’ve been doing some research on the Southern Cross for another piece that I’m writing and decided that it’s something pretty cool to talk about. I recently saw the Southern Cross in Patagonia and I saw it for the first time in Antarctica this November!
Depending on where you are and what season it is, the Cross is either right side up or upside down. That was a fairly hard concept for me to grasp. I can get that stars rotate around above my head but the fact that it was truly upside down was shocking. In Antarctica, I saw it upside down.
To find the Southern Cross, first you have to locate the pointer stars, Alpha and Beta Centauri. These two are very bright and easy to find much as Venus and Polaris are pretty easy to see in the northern sky. If you draw a line starting from Alpha Centauri through Beta Centauri and keep going to the right, you’ll hit the top star of the Southern Cross.
The Cross consists of four stars, Alpha Crucis, on the bottom, Beta Crucis (or Mimosa), on the left closest to the pointer stars, Delta Crucis, on the right, and Gamma Crucis, at the top, which , unlike the other three, has an orange tint.