C R U X
Mythology and history
Denominated the Cross of the South, due to the observations of the first navigators who explored austral territories and visible of a spectacular form in the South hemisphere. In time of Tolomeo, that worked in Alexandria (Egypt) in century II d.C., it already knew these four stars that included them between those of Centaurus when it published his Almagesto.
The constellation of Crux is crossed by the parallel -60º of South declination, belongs to the group of circumpolar the austral ones and it is only possible to be seen from latitudes corresponding to the island of Cuba, the north of Egypt and the peninsula of India. By the precession of the equinoxes it does more than two thousand years was observable for the situated Mediterranean cultures in latitude of North 40º since registries of the same one exist. It culminates in the meridian during the month of April.
It is a spectacular constellation that appears in the national flags of Australia and Nueva Zelanda. It crosses the equator of the Milky Route for that reason he is rich in stellar cluster and shining stars in spite of being a most modest constellation with of 70º less square of size, being smallest of the firmament.
Descriptions of the travellers of centuries XVI and XVII exist, specially the one of the florentino Andrea Corsali that in 1515 was expressed thus, wonderful cross, more beautiful than any other constellation. It was more or less at this time when Royer attributed the present name to him. Also descriptions of Pigafetta ,that accompanied to Magallanes in its trips around the world and, in fín exist, those of the jesuitas missionaries in Siam in 1865.
Located to half of distance between the rich agglomerations of Carina and the luminous pair of a and b Centauri, centellea like a gem in the Milky Route surrounded by agglomerations and stellar clouds between which, stands out, because of the impressive dark that reigns there with the emptiness of the characteristic interstellar dust formation named Saco from coal. It limits the north, the east and the west with Centaurus and the south with Musca
Alpha, a; denominated Acrux, of blue magnitude 1.28. Earth light is to 320 years, is 4000 times more luminous than the Sun is one double line of vision whose secondary it is of 1.58 of blue color separated 4"of arc, form an orbital system.
Beta, b; denominated Mimosa or Becrux, of magnitude 1.31 and blue color. Earth light is to 353 years being 3000 times more luminous than our Sun formed in the cluster of the Pleyades in Taurus.
Gamma, g; denominated Gagrux of magnitude 1.65 and red color. Earth light is to 87 years being 140 times more shining than our Sun.
Delta, d; of mangitud 2.79 he is weakest of Crux. Also of blue color Earth light is to 364 years being 790 times more shining than the Sun.
NGC 4349, stellar cluster of magnitude 7.40 that is to 5,500 years light with an age considered in 220 million years. It has an angular diameter of 15' of arc formed by stars with magnitudes between twelve and fourteen.
NGC 4439, stellar cluster of magnitude 8.40 that is to 5,200 years light and age of 63 million years. It has an angular diameter of 4' of arc, formed by stars of twelve and thirteen magnitude.
To date observations by telescope have not been made since it is located in the South hemisphere, next to the celestial and invisible South Pole from where I write these lines to you, Majorca, Spain, although I do not discard to someday make a trip to the seas of the south, and to lose to me in an island of the Pacific to be able to contemplate and to locate the constellations that still I have left to discover.
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Masm (Last update 2004-02-15)