α Crucis

If you are newly arrived in the Southern Hemisphere, finding the Southern Cross is not as easy as one would think; rather than jumping out at you, it sits discreetly between the feet of Centaurus.

What does jump out at the observer are the two Pointer Stars, alpha and beta Centauri, which point the way: Southern Cross.

Alpha Crucis is actually two stars, a splendid telescopic binary system with a 1.3 magnitude primary and its equally bright 1.6 companion, 4.4" away at PA 115º.

The edge of the coal sack is just visible; most of this lies to the east, south of beta Crucis. This is a dark nebula set in the background of the bright Milky Way.

A find telescopic multiple system is found one degree north of theta Crucis—DUN 117:
      AB: 7.4, 7.8; 149º, 23".
      AC: 7.4, 10.0; 20º, 25".


Move half a field northeast to capture beta Crucis: binoculars. Here is the splendid Jewel Box. Click on beta on the map for its details.

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