Crux (krŏks) [key] [Lat., = cross], small but brilliant southern constellation whose four most prominent members form a Latin cross, the famous Southern Cross. The long arm of the cross, terminating in the brightest member, Acrux (Alpha Crucis), points almost directly at the south celestial pole. Two other stars, Mimosa (Beta Crucis) and Gacrux (Gamma Crucis) are also among the brightest in the sky. Also in Crux is the Coalsack, a famous dark nebula. Crux reaches its highest point in the evening sky in May; its location in the far southern sky makes it visible most of the year to southern observers but not at all to observers north of about 25°N lat.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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See more Encyclopedia articles on: Constellations

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