Universe Guide

Crux, The Southern Cross Constellation

Crux Constellation Star Map

Crux (Pronounciation:Krucks, Abbrev:Cru, Latin:Crucis) is a constellation, one of 88 constellations that the night sky is divided into. The sky is not divided up equally between the constellations. Crux takes up 68.447 sq. degrees of the night sky which equates to 0.17% of the night sky. Crux is the 88th largest in terms of size in the night sky.

The constellation name means The Southern Cross . It was not one of the original constellations that had been devised by Ptolemy, instead it was created by Johann Bayer years later.

There are 4 stars that make up the main constellation. The hipparcos satellite scanned and detailed 382 stars. There are 33 stars that can be seen with the naked eye in the constellation on a very clear night sky.

Crux is not a member of the Zodiac group of twelve constellations that appear when the Sun sets. Crux is a southern hemispheric constellation which means it can't be seen easily or at all from the northern hemisphere.

There are 2 Extrasolar Planets (Exoplanets) in this constellation that are detailed on this site. There is a dedicated page for exoplanets in Crux. The current largest star so far identified in the constellation of Crux is Gacrux.

There are no deep space objects that were identified by Charles Messier in this constellation. There are no non-Messier deep space objects in this constellation that are covered at present on this site.

The image at the top right of this page was generated using Night Vision, a free to use and download application by Brian Simspon.

Distance to Crux

You can't just go to one location and arrive at the constellation because the constellation is made up of stars at different locations and different distances. The nearest main star in the constellation is at a distance of 88.56 light years and the furthest main star is a distance of 345.15 light years. The average distance to the main stars is 258.56 light years.

Crux Star Facts

The caveat of these stars are that they are catalogued on this site. If you know of a star that is nearer or further then do let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the site. The stars mentioned are from the Hipparcos catalogue or have been added because of their special status.

HIP 58910, Crux's Nearest Star

The nearest star to Earth is HIP 58910 which is roughly about 17.99 Light Years from the Earth. The nearest star to the Earth with an exoplanet is HD 108147 which is about 124.21 Light Years.

HIP 58278, Crux's Furthest Star

The furthest star that is located in the constellation is HIP 58278 and it is 108721.1 light years away from the Sun. The furthest figure is derived from either the 1997 or 2007 Hipparcos star catalogue parallax figure and it has been known to produce distances that are wrong.

HD 110506, Crux's Dimmest Visible Star

The dimmest star that can be seen in Crux with the naked eye is HD 110506. The dim star has an apparent magnitude of 5.99. The dimmest star that a person is able to see with their naked eye is 6.0 magnitude based on the table in the reference. Ref: University of Michigan.

Acrux, Alpha Crucis

Acrux is the most southern of the stars in the constellation. In addition to it being the brightest in the constellation, Acrux is also one of the brightest stars in the night sky, thirteenth brightest to be precise.

Gacrux, Gamma Crucis

Gacrux is a supergiant red star, in fact it is the nearest supergiant stars in the galaxy. Although it may not be challenging UY Scuti for supremacy, it is definitely larger than our own star, the Sun. Unlike UY Scuti, Gacrux is visible with the naked eye if you know where to look.

Crux Information

Whilst the name Crux is latin for Cross, the constellation commonly referred to as the Southern Cross, the reason is quite obvious. Its cross shaped and in the southern hemisphere. There is no specific northern hemisphere equivalent although the constellation Cygnus comes close due to its near cross shape.

The constellation is surrounded on three sides by the more famous Centaurus constellation which contains the closest stars to us, Rigil Kentaurus and Proxima Centauri. On the southern boundary is Musca, the fly.

Even though the constellation is on the small side, it is used in nagivation because of its distinctive shape in the southern hemisphere. In the northern hemisphere, Ursa Minor is the navigation constellation because it contains Polaris, the Pole Star.

Crux Mythology

Johann Bayer created the constellation from Centaurus which up until that point, the constellation had been a part of. It is a very faint but would not be of interest to some if it wasn't for Acrux which is one of the brightest stars in the night sky.

Crux Facts

Is a Zodiac Sign No
Brightest StarAcrux
Area68.447 sq. deg.
Percentage of Night Sky0.17%
Size Position88th
Hemisphere Southern
Site Exoplanet Count2
Meteor Shower Count1
Nearest StarHIP 58910
Nearest Star with Exoplanet(s)HD 108147
Largest StarGacrux
Brightest StarAcrux
Dimmest StarHD 110506
Furthest StarHIP 58278
Bright Star Count33
Hipparcos Star Count382
Main Star Count4
Messier Deep Space Object Count0
Bordering / Neighbouring / Surrounding ConstellationsCentaurus

*Note: The number of Non-Messier Deep Space Object Count relates to how many are covered on this site not how many there are.

List of Deep Space Objects (Galaxies, Nebulas, Supernovas, etc) in Crux

NameTypeDistanceDeclinationRight Ascension
Jewel Box Star ClusterOpen Star Cluster6400 -60d 22.012h 53m 42

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