Grus lies just below Piscis Austrinus, and at
one time was part of that constellation. Grus (The Crane) was so named
by Johann Bayer, as listed in his 1603 star atlas.
The constellation is replete with very faint spiral galaxies, from
eleventh to thirteenth magnitude, and a number of fine binaries.
Alpha Gruis is called Al Nair, or "The Bright One" (i.e., of
the Fish's Tail), an obvious reference to its former association with Piscis
The star is almost as bright as Fomalhaut. The rest of the Bayer stars range from second to fifth magnitude.
Delta1 Gruis and delta2 Gruis form a
pleasant optical binary of contrasting colours: yellow and red.
Theta Gruis: 4.5, 7; 75 degrees, 1.1".
Pi1 Gruis: 6.5, 11; 201 degrees, 2.7".
Pi2 Gruis: 6, 12; 214 degrees, 4.6".
Sigma2 Gruis: 6, 10.5; 263 degrees, 2.7".
Tau2 Gruis: 7.5, 8; 166 degrees, 0.3".
Upsilon Gruis: 5.5, 9; 211 degrees, 1.1".
The variables of Grus are not very notable:
Beta Gruis is an Lc type irregular variable, with a range from
2.0 to 2.3.
Delta2 Gruis is an Lb irregular variable, with a
range from 3.99 to 4.2
Deep Sky Objects:
NGC 7213 is a spiral galaxy in the field of alpha Gruis,
just 16' to the SE. This is one of the brightest of the many spiral
galaxies in this constellation.
For a more detailed appreciation of Grus, visit the Binocular Section.