· · · ·

Southern Pointers

Constellation FamilyHercules
Celestial QuadrantSQ3
Right Ascension14h05 to 14h41
Declination-60.5° to -60.9°
Area (sq deg)4
Brightest StarAlpha Centauri (Rigil Kentaurus)
Optimum VisibilityApril (usually visible from southern latitudes)
NotesThe two stars that make up the Southern Pointers are two of the brightest in the entire sky. Alpha Centauri is only outshone by Sirius and Canopus, and while Hadar is a little fainter, it is still the eleventh brightest star in the sky after Betelgeuse in Orion.
Map of the Southern Pointers

A pair of stars in the constellation Centaurus used as a guide to locate the small but prominent neighbouring constellation of Crux. The stars in question are the two brightest in Centaurus: Alpha Centauri (Rigil Kentaurus) and Hadar (which is also designated Beta Centauri). An imaginary line from Alpha Centauri through Hadar leads on to pass close by Gacrux, the northernmost of the four stars that make up the shape of the Southern Cross.

The name 'Southern Pointers' is derived from a similar arrangement in the northern hemisphere's sky, where the Pointer stars Dubhe and Merak point the way to Polaris at the Northern Celestial Pole. Like their northern counterparts, the Southern Pointers are also sometimes called simply 'the Pointers'.


Related Entries