Plotting the movement of the Southern Cross

The Southern Cross, along with the other constellations near the South Celestial Pole, never disappears below the horizon when viewed from Southern Australia. It never sets below the horizon, but traces a circle in the sky. Part of this circle can be glimpsed if we observe the Southern Cross over several hours.

This activity raises students’ awareness that the stars do not remain in the same position in the sky during the night. The activity involves tracing the movement of the Southern Cross over several hours and then using the data to find the South Celestial Pole.

What you need

  • Download student activity (menu at right)
  • A4 piece of paper (or graph paper)
  • Clip board or a hard covered book to lean on
  • Pencil

Plotting the movement of the Southern Cross activity illustration

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