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is a constellation located in the southern sky in a bright portion of the Milky Way.
It is among the most easily distinguished constellations, as all of its four main stars have an apparent visual magnitude above 2.8, even though it is the smallest of all 88 modern constellations.
Its name is Latin for cross, and it is dominated by a cross-shaped or kite-like asterism that is commonly known as the Southern Cross.
However, the precession of the equinoxes gradually lowered the stars below the European horizon, and they were eventually forgotten by the inhabitants of northern latitudes.The 15th-century Venetian navigator Alvise Cadamosto made note of what was probably the Southern Cross on exiting the Gambia River in 1455, calling it the carro dell'ostro ("southern chariot").However, Cadamosto's accompanying diagram was inaccurate. Historians generally credit João Faras - astronomer and physician of King Manuel I of Portugal who accompanied Pedro Álvares Cabral in the discovery of Brazil in 1500 - for being the first European to depict it correctly.Faras sketched and described the constellation (calling it "Las Guardas") in a letter written on the beaches of Brazil on May 1, 1500, to the Portuguese monarch.Another early modern description clearly describing Crux as a separate constellation is attributed to Andreas Corsali, an Italian navigator who from 1515 to 1517 sailed to China and the East Indies in an expedition sponsored by King Manuel I.In 1516, Corsali wrote a letter to the monarch describing his observations of the southern sky, which included a rather crude map of the stars around the south celestial pole including the Southern Cross and the two Magellanic Clouds seen in an external orientation, as on a globe.Emery Molyneux and Petrus Plancius have also been cited as the first uranographers to distinguish Crux as a separate constellation; their representations date from 1592, the former depicting it on his celestial globe and the latter in one of the small celestial maps on his large wall map.Both authors, however, depended on unreliable sources and placed Crux in the wrong position.Crux was first shown in its correct position on the celestial globes of Petrus Plancius and Jodocus Hondius in 15.Its stars were first catalogued separately from Centaurus by Frederick de Houtman in 1603.Crux is bordered by the constellations Centaurus (which surrounds it on three sides) on the east, north and west, and Musca to the south.