Southern Cross viewing season arrives in Ishigakijima

Southern Cross viewing season arrives in Ishigakijima

The first Southern Cross photographed this winter at the Ishigakijima Astronomical Observatory at 6:38 a.m. on December 20 in Ishigaki Island (photograph provided by the Observatory)

December 22, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo


The season for viewing the Southern Cross, a constellation that symbolizes the southern sky, has arrived in Okinawa’s Yaeyama region.

In the early morning on December 20, the first photograph this winter of the Southern Cross was taken at the Ishigakijima Astronomical Observatory in Ishigaki City, Okinawa.

In Japan, the entire cross made up of four stars can only be seen from a few places, including the Yaeyama islands.

The constellation can be seen from the end of December until early June each year.


The Southern Cross is made up of two first-magnitude stars, one second-magnitude star, and one third-magnitude star. The four stars form a beautiful cross shape.


According to the Ishigakijima Astronomical Observatory, opportunities to view the Southern Cross are limited because the culmination time when the constellation is at its highest point and is most visible is near the time of sunrise, but the culmination time will get earlier as time goes by, and within one hour of that time will be the ideal time to view the constellation. On January 1, the culmination time will be 6:30 a.m.


“We were able to take a photograph to announce the beginning of the season for viewing the Southern Cross.

I hope people who go out early to see the new year’s first sunrise on January 1 will leave a little early and bring a pair of binoculars to look for the Southern Cross,” said Hidekazu Hanayama, director of the Ishigakijima Astronomical Observatory.


(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)


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