Star Lore

Stars and Constellations in Flags

and other national symbols

The Southern Cross in Flags and Symbols
Five countries and a large number of states, provinces and regions, not to mention military units, sportsclubs, cities and fraternities carry the southern cross in their flag. To save space, we have limited our collection to Contries and major subdivisions of countries, such as states or provinces.

For the complete picture, we recommend Wikipedia's site Flags depicting the Southern Cross, which has no less than 77 flags on display.
Papua New Guinea
Gulf Province
Papua New Guinea
New Ireland Province
Papua New Guinea
Simbu Province
Papua New Guinea
Western Province
Papua New Guinea

Australian Province
Capital Territory
Australian Territory
Northern Territory
Australian Territory

Cocos Islands
External Australian Territory

Christmas Island
External Australian Territory

New Zealand



Brazilian State

Santa Cruz
Argentinian Province

Tierra del Fuego
Argentinian Province

Chilean Region

Los Lagos
Chilean Region

Chilean Region

Department in Uruguay

Mocoví Pueblo
Indiginous Nation in Argentina

The Southern Cross is mentioned in the national anthems of Brazil, Australia and Samoa.
A stylized version of the cross is part of Brazil's Coat of Arms, which also appears on Brazilian passports

The Portugese word Cruz is the root of the name of a former Brazilian currency, the cruzeiro. The Southern Cross is part of the "tails" side of Brazilian coins.
Shield of Brazilian Coat of Arms Brazilian Passport Brazilian 1 Real Coin

The Brazilian flag

The center of the Brazilian flag presents the night sky as it would have been on November 15, 1889 at 08:30 over Rio de Janeiro. Each star corresponds to a Brazilian Federative Unit, is sized in proportion relative to its geographic size.

Below (left) is a list of all Brazilian states and their respective assigned star.

Some states have placed "their" star in their respective state flag. These flage are shown below (right).

Source:Wikipedia, Flags of the World - Astronomy of the Brazilian Flag

Constellations in the Brazilian Flag
Source: Wikipedia

Constellation / Star State
1 Canis Minor
Procyon α CMi Amazonas

2 Canis Major
Sirius α CMa Mato Grosso
Mirzam β CMa Amapá
Muliphen γ CMa Rondônia
Wezen δ CMa Roraima
Adhara ε CMa Tocantins

3 Carina
Canopus α Car Goiás

4 Virgo
Spica α Vir Pará

5 Hydra
Alphard α Hyd Mato Grosso do Sul
Gamma Hydrae γ Hyd Acre

6 Crux
Estrela de Magalhães * α Cru São Paulo
Mimosa β Cru Rio de Janeiro
Gacrux γ Cru Bahia
Imai δ Cru Minas Gerais
Ginan ε Cru Espírito Santo

7 Octans
Polaris Australis σ Oct Distrito Federal

8 Triangulum Australe
Atria α TrA Rio Grande do Sul
Beta Trianguli Australis β TrA Santa Catarina
Gamma Trianguli Australis γ TrA Paraná

9 Scorpius
Antares α Sco Piauí
Graffias * β Sco Maranhão
Larawag ε Sco Ceará
Sargas θ Sco Alagoas
Apollyon ι1 Sco Sergipe
Girtab κ Sco Paraíba
Shaula λ Sco Rio Grande do Norte
Xamidimura & Pipirima μ Sco Pernambuco


Maranhão - Graffias

Mato Grosso - Sirius

Pará - Spica

Piauí - Antares

Rondônia - Muliphen

Roraima - Wezen

* In official documents, Brazil used the old Portugese names Estrela de Magalhães for α Crucis, and Graffias for β Scorpii instead of the IAU designations Acrux and Acrab, respectively.

Sirius in the Crest of a Sydney University

The Crest of the Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia shows the star Sirius on top of a tower.

Source: Wikipedia

Regulus in the Coat of Arms of Portsmouth, England

The flag of the city of Portsmouth, England, shows a golden star and a crescent moon. Both have been the City's arms for over 800 years and were a taken from an early version of the coat of arms of King Richard I.

One interpretation suggest that the star is Regulus, which at the time was commonly known a "Cor Leonis", or "Heart of the Lion" - making the arms a play on words on Richard's nickname "Lionheart".

Source: Flags of the World
Portsmouth Flag; Wikipedia

Orion and Pleiades in an Australian Aboriginal flag

The Adnyamathanha in South Australia show two asterisms in their national flag:

The southern part of Orion is called Mirarrityi, meaning The Saucepan and the Pleiades are Artunyi or The Seven Sisters. Mirarrityi (Orion) represents Miru Muda, the Men’s story line, Artunyi represents Artu Muda, the Women’s story line.

They are both placed in the sky, called Ngiiarri, while the Sun is placed in the land, called Yarta.
Adnyamathanha flag
Source: Flags of the World
For the complete story, see our Australian Aboriginal site.

Source: Aboriginal Astronomy

Ursa Major - The Big Dipper in Flags and Coat of Arms

The state flag of Alaska displays eight gold stars, forming the Big Dipper and Polaris, on a dark blue field. The Big Dipper is an asterism in the constellation Ursa Major which symbolizes a bear, an animal indigenous to Alaska. As depicted on the flag, its stars can be used as a guide by the novice to locate Polaris and determine true north.

The design was created by Benny Benson of Seward and selected from among roughly 700 entries in a 1927 contest.

Source: Wikipedia
Alaska State Flag; Wikipedia

The flag of the Community of Madrid is crimson red, with seven silver, five-pointed stars. The stars represents each of the administrative areas of the province of Madrid.

The stars are also thought to represent the Ursa Major and Ursa Minor constellations, in reference to the bear of the City of Madrid's coat of arms.

Source: Wikipedia
Community of Madrid; Wikipedia

In 1212, the Council of Madrid used an ensign showing a bear with the seven stars of Ursa Major or Ursa Minor. This flag was used in the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa.

In 1222, the ensign was changed showing the bear, which had been displayed grazing, now standing on its hind legs, rampant, to eat fruits from a tree. Seven eight-pointed stars where shown on a bordure Azure.

Throughout the centuries, the ensign has been modified several times. The current version was adopted in 1982.

Source: Wikipedia
1212 1982

The Big Dipper is part of the Coat of Arms of the House of Bernadotte, the royal house of Sweden.

In Sweden, the Big dipper is known as Karlavagnen, meaning Charles's Wain, derived from the Anglo-Saxon word Churl for man.

The stars were introduced as an element in the royal coat of arms in the 19th century, chosen as a symbol of Sweden's eternal existence, as in the poem by Esaias Tegnér:

As long as Charles's Wain still turns,
Its golden wheels around the Northern zone,
As long as the land still produces iron and heroes,
Intact shall stand the ancient Swedish throne.

Source: Wikipedia
House of Bernadotte

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