Glossary term: Southern Cross

Description: The Southern Cross is the common name for the southern hemisphere constellation Crux. It has five stars visible to the naked eye forming a long cross, is compact and easily recognized. Crux covers the smallest area of the celestial sphere of any of the 88 official constellations. The brightest star, ⍺ Crucis is a triple star system whilst β Crucis is a cepheid variable. Crux also contains a stunning open cluster, the Jewel Box (NGC 4755). Crux can be used to help find south and the South Celestial Pole. It is represented on the flags of Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Samoa.

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The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".