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Crux (kro͝oks) [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.
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Crux(kruks) (Crux Australis; Southern Cross) The smallest but one of the most conspicuous of all the constellations in the sky, located in the southern hemisphere and lying in the Milky Way. The four brightest stars, Alpha (α), Beta (β), Gamma (γ), and Delta (δ) Crucis form a cross (see illustration). The zero-magnitude Alpha and the 1st-magnitude red giant Gamma form the longer arm that points approximately to the south celestial pole. The 1st-magnitude Beta and 2nd-magnitude Delta form the transverse arm. The 3rd-magnitude Epsilon (Ɛ), between Alpha and Delta, interferes with the figure's regularity. The area also contains the brilliant cluster the Jewel Box and the dark Coalsack nebula. Abbrev.: Cru; genitive form: Crucis; approx. position: RA 12.5h, dec –60°; area: 68 sq deg.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006
A constellation having four principal bright stars which form the figure of a cross; right ascension 12 hours, declination 60°S. Abbreviated Cru. Also known as Cross; Southern Cross.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Mountaineering the most difficult and often decisive part of a climb or pitch
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005