Story: Southern Cross

Navigating by the Southern Cross

There are three ways to locate due south using the Southern Cross:

1. Draw an imaginary line from the top of the cross to the bottom and extend it 4.5 times. Drop a vertical line from this point, which is the South Celestial Pole (SCP), to the horizon – that place is due south.

2. Extend an imaginary line from the dimmer of the two Pointers to a lone bright star called Achernar. The South Celestial Pole is about halfway along this line. Locate south by dropping a vertical line from the South Celestial Pole to the horizon.

3. Imagine a line connecting the Pointers. Midway along this line, extend another line at a right angle to it, until it meets another line drawn down the long axis of the Southern Cross. The meeting place is the approximate location of the South Celestial Pole. Locate south by dropping a vertical line from here to the horizon.

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How to cite this page:

Maggy Wassilieff, 'Southern Cross - Orientation and navigation', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 13 July 2024)

Story by Maggy Wassilieff, published 12 Jun 2006