From the January 2024 issue

Streicher 7

By | Published: January 1, 2024

Streicher 7, the Tiny Southern Cross asterism, is the seventh asterism created by the prolific writer and renowned South African observer Magda Streicher. In her 2012 book Astronomy Delights, she describes it as a “group of stars that represents a small constellation Crux impression, with the long axis pointing towards the south-east. I am dedicating this asterism to a very special person, Carla (le Roux) Graham. She lost her battle with acute myeloid leukaemia in 2010, and my sincere wish is that the stars in this cross may shine brightly in thought of her memory and the legacy she left behind.”

You’ll find this personal tribute among the stars about 1.6° south of the dynamic NGC 2516, the Southern Beehive Cluster, one of the young open clusters that share common motion though space with the Pleiades (M45).

Streicher estimates the 6′-long asterism shines at magnitude 4, but it appears much fainter. As with the Southern Cross, the asterism has three stars of similar brightness, with the southernmost being the brightest (and reddest). The fourth, fainter star of the Cross marks its western arm, while the faint one in Streicher 7 marks the eastern arm. The long axis of Streicher 7 points to the southeast.