The Southern Cross.
This is one of the first constellations learnt
by children in Australia. If you can find
the Southern Cross in the night sky then
you know your are looking towards the south.
The vertical axis of this constellation points
towards the South Celestial Pole. It is usually
way up there with Orion and Scorpio in terms
of the constellations initially picked up
by kids in the Southern Hemisphere. This
is of course before the advent of the Simpsons,
Playstations and the Internet.
I knew these constellations by the time I was 5 or 6 years of age. The first
thing I ever saved up for and bought was a small Tasco telescope back in 1966.
The Southern Cross is also know as Crux. [Southern Cross links: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |]
The famous Astronomy
Picture of the Day site has some great images of the Southern Cross, including
the Jewel Box, a star cluster located near the Southern Cross: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
Anyway I took a photo of the night sky and the Southern Cross was very low in
the sky close to the horizon. It is barely visible. A cropped copy of the original
[556k 2008 x 3000 pixels] image is
order to give you a better idea I scanned
in a map from an old book I have had for
Australian Sky by W.J. Newell (Jacaranda
Press, Brisbane, 1965). You can see the map
you invert the image above in Photoshop it
looks like this... neat, eh?
you might ask... how does that help?
Well, the Southern Cross in the photograph
down". The Pointers are on the right
and the Southern Cross is located bottom
centre. Please refer to the second map
below and the modified image that follows.
Alpha Centauri is one of the closest stars
to our own solar system. It is part of a
star system that includes Proxima Centauri
which is the closest star to our solar
system. You may remember, the Robinson family
that flew in Jupiter2 (Lost
In Space) were supposed to be travelling
to Alpha Centauri.
As you can see, I added some labels to the image and also adjusted the lighting
using the Levels command in Photoshop. See the two screen shots below.
simply shifted the small triangular handle
on the far right of the histogram towards
the left hand side of the histogram. The
net effect of this is to lighten the image
and highlight the whiter components of the
image. Hence the stars become more visible.
Stay tuned for other images of the stars.
love looking at the stars.