Last week we discussed the phenomena of the wandering North Pole (See our 5/27/15 Blog “The Wandering Pole Star”) which is caused by the Precession of the Equinoxes.
The Precession also causes the visible latitudes and corresponding altitudes the stars to change over long periods of time. The Star Bible constellations, the twelve zodiacal constellations and the 36 “Decans” associated with the zodiacal constellations, were all visible from the Middle East in ancient times. However, as time passed, some of the constellations were moved into lower latitudes, and lower altitudes, by the Precession. Eventually some have disappeared from view for sites at or above the latitude of the Middle East, about 30 degrees North.
The effect is most dramatically seen in the disappearance of the Crux, the Southern Cross. Originally an easily observed constellation, by the time of Christ it had fallen to the point that it stood on the horizon on the day Jesus was crucified. In the following centuries it has moved further South so that it is only visible now at locations below 20 degrees North. An interesting consequence of the Southward shift is that the celestial picture of the Cross, in its Northern Cross (Cygnus) and Southern Cross (Crux) versions, is the only celestial picture which can be seen from any location on earth. Thus, as the Gospel has advanced into the Southern areas of the earth, moving powerfully in South America and Sub-Sahara Africa, the celestial cross has gone before as a beacon of hope.
If you are taking a vacation trip South, perhaps a Caribbean cruise or a visit to resorts like Acapulco, Cancun, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, or points South, take the time to find one of the wonders of the heavens, the Southern Cross. Look South at about 10:00 pm to find the bright and distinctive cross. As a bonus, you can also find the nearby star Toliman (The Heretofore and the Hereafter), the third brightest star in the sky, which is part of the constellation Centaurus, meaning The Despised One and also representing the crucifixion of Christ.
And don’t forget to tell your fellow vacationers about the significance of the bright cross in the sky.