Australian flag made incorrect by stars

Feb. 8, 2007 at 10:13 AM
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SYDNEY, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Astronomers have discovered a previously unknown star in the Southern Cross constellation, making Australia's national flag an incorrect representation.

The flag displays five stars arranged in the constellation, which served as a crucial mark for navigators for hundreds of years, but a sixth star has now been found orbiting Beta Crucis, which is represented as the left-hand star on the flag's version of the Southern Cross, The Times of London reported Thursday.

Nick Lomb, a Sydney Observatory astronomer, said the star had not been noticed before because its light was swallowed by the glare coming off the larger star.

"It would be like looking for a glow worm next to floodlight," he said.

Lomb said changing the flag to include the extra star, as well as two others that were previously discovered orbiting Alpha Crucis and Beta Crucis, would require a very large flag to keep the representation to scale.

"The flag would have to be huge, probably the size of Sydney," he said.

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