We live on a planet that is constantly moving, which affects what we see in the sky. As the Earth rotates on its axis, we experience day and night. As the Earth orbits around the Sun, we experience the seasons. For each season we see different constellations in the night sky. For example, the constellation of Scorpius is best seen during winter, while the constellation of Orion is visible on summer evenings. The Southern Cross is a good constellation to watch throughout the entire year because it never disappears below the horizon. It can always be seen circling around the South Celestial Pole.
The information given is for around 8pm (AEST) during June.
The Southern Cross in Winter
Copyright: Melbourne Planetarium.
In the night sky:
The Southern Cross is facing the "right way up" and at its highest point in the south. The Two Pointers lie to the left of the Cross. Between the two brightest stars of the Cross, Alpha and Beta Crucis, is a dark nebula called the Coal Sack.
The Milky Way is the faint band of stars high in the south arching from east to west.
In Scorpius, the scorpion, a bright red star called Antares is nearly overhead.
Sagittarius, the archer (sometimes referred to as the teapot), is just above the horizon in the east. The centre of the Milky Way Galaxy lies towards Sagittarius.
The star Spica in Virgo is now high and overheadand the orange star, Arcturus in the constellation of Bootes, the Herdsman, is in the north.
With 7 x 50 binoculars:
Near the Southern Cross is Omega Centauri, a large globular cluster of stars. Through binoculars it looks like a fuzzy star.
In Scorpius we find a few star clusters. Near the star Antares is the globular cluster M4 and there are two open clusters near the ‘sting’ of the Scorpion. The open clusters are M6, known as the butterfly cluster, and M7, one of the brightest clusters of all.
With a telescope:
Not far from Omega Centauri, is the Centaurus Galaxy. This elliptical galaxy, has a dark dust band across its centre, most likely due a collision with a spiral galaxy.
In Sagittarius, we can find the Lagoon, Triffid and Omega nebulae.