Planet Earth
International Astronomical Union WGSN

IAU: Crux

Profile / Characteristics

English translationLatin declination and pronunciationsSize/ °²# stars
the Southern CrossCrux – CRUCKS, CROOKS
Crucis – CROO-siss

Ancient Globes

Farnese Globe

Kugel Globe

Mainz Globe

part of the rear legs of Centaurus

part of the rear legs of Centaurus

part of the rear legs of Centaurus

Ancient Lore & Meaning


English translation by Douglas Kidd (1997).
Aratus: Phaenomena, Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries, Series Number 34

Online available: translation by Mair (1921) 


French translation by:
Jordi Pàmias i Massana and Arnaud Zucker (2013). Ératosthènes de Cyrène – Catastérismes, Les Belles Lettres, Paris

English version in:
Robin Hard (2015): Eratosthenes and Hyginus Constellation Myths with Aratus’s Phaenomena, Oxford World’s Classics

Early Modern Interpretation

For modern versions of ancient lore:
Ian Ridpath’s page on this constellation


invented by Andrea Corsali, the navigator of Amerigo Vespucci, in reminiscence of their Florentine compatriot Dante Alighieri who wrote in his Divine Comedy that there were four bright asterisms in the southern sky (Dante probably meant this allegorically, symbolizing the Christian virtues)


As one of their first tasks in the 1920s, the newly founded International Astronomical Union (IAU) established constellation standards. The Belgian astronomer Eugène Delporte was assigned to the task to define borders of constellations parallel to lines of declination and right ascension. They were accepted by the General Assembly in 1928. The standardized names and abbreviations had already been accepted in 1922 and 1925.  

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