Southern Cross Crux
Southern Cross in the SE sky, mid Feb 2011

The Southern Cross star constellation, also known as Crux, is in the south-eastern sky at the moment. Together with “The Pointers” (Alpha Centauri and Beta Centauri), the Southern Cross is one of the most recognizable constellations in the southern hemisphere. The tree-line is just visible in the above photo (if you look hard).

Southern Cross Crux close-up
Close-up of the five stars comprising Crux and several other stars 'nearby'.

The names of the five stars that make up the Crux are known by a variety of rather technical names and are not memorable.  And unlike the names of The Pointers, the stars of the Southern Cross were never mentioned in Hollywood Sci-fi movies. The Pointers, sitting below the Southern Cross in the top image, are stars with relatively well-known names- Alpha Centauri is the third brightest object in the night sky, but its not one star, but a binary star system. Similarly, Beta Centauri is also a binary star, but is much further from earth than Alpha Centauri. Beta Centauri is the tenth brightest star in the night sky.

More about the Southern Cross:


And just for good measure, the moon on the same night.

Waxing moon three days before full.