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Gacrux, Gamma Crucis, HD108903, HIP61084, HR4763

Gacrux Location in Crux

Primary Facts on Gacrux

  • Gacrux's star type is eruptive giant star that can be located in the constellation of Crux. The description is based on the spectral class.
  • Gacrux is a main star of the constellation outline.
  • Based on the spectral type (M4III) of the star, the star's colour is red .
  • Gamma Crucis is the Bayer name for the star. It was assigned this name by Johann Bayer in 1603. The closer to the start of the Greek Alphabet the name, the brighter the star is. Alpha stars tend to be the brightest in the constellation. A notable exception is Pollux (Beta Geminorum) which is the brighest star in the Gemini constellation.
  • Gacrux is the 25th brightest star in the night sky and the 4th brightest star in Crux based on the Hipparcos 2007 apparent magnitude. The star can be seen with the naked eye, that is, you don't need a telescope/binoculars to see it.
  • Using the most recent figures given by the 2007 Hipparcos data, the star is 88.56 light years away from us.

Gacrux's Alternative Names

Gamma Crucis (Gam Cru) is the Bayer Classification for the star. The Id of the star in the Yale Bright Star Catalogue is HR4763. HIP61084 is the reference name for the star in the Hipparcos Star Catalogue. The Id of the star in the Henry Draper catalogue is HD108903. The Gliese ID of the star is GL 470. The star was part of the original catalogue devised by German Astronomer Wilheim Gliese of stars located within 20 parsecs of Earth. Star Names

Gacrux has alternative name(s) :- , NSV 05672.

More details on star alternative names can be found at Star Names .

Location of Gacrux

The location of the star in the night sky is determined by the Right Ascension (R.A.) and Declination (Dec.), these are equivalent to the Longitude and Latitude on the Earth. The Right Ascension is how far expressed in time (hh:mm:ss) the star is along the celestial equator. If the R.A. is positive then its eastwards. The Declination is how far north or south the star is compared to the celestial equator and is expressed in degrees. For Gacrux, the location is 12h 31m 09.93 and -57° 06` 45.2 .

Radial Velocity and Proper Motion of Gacrux

All stars like planets orbit round a central spot, in the case of planets, its the central star such as the Sun. In the case of a star, its the galactic centre. The constellations that we see today will be different than they were 50,000 years ago or 50,000 years from now. Proper Motion details the movements of these stars and are measured in milliarcseconds. The star is moving -265.08 ± 0.11 miliarcseconds/year towards the north and 28.23 ± 0.18 miliarcseconds/year east if we saw them in the horizon.

The Radial Velocity, that is the speed at which the star is moving away/towards the Sun is 21.00 km/s with an error of about 0.10 km/s . When the value is negative then the star and the Sun are getting closer to one another, likewise, a positive number means that two stars are moving away. Its nothing to fear as the stars are so far apart, they won't collide in our life-time, if ever.

Physical Properties (Colour, Temperature) of Gacrux

Gacrux has a spectral type of M4III. This means the star is a red giant star. The star is 7,386.00 Parsecs from the Galactic Centre or in terms of Light Years is 24,090.42 s. The star has a B-V Colour Index of 1.6 which means the star's temperature has been calculated using information from Morgans @ Uni.edu at being 3,779 Kelvin.

Gacrux Radius has been calculated as being 28.19 times bigger than the Sun.The Sun's radius is 695,800km, therefore the star's radius is an estimated 19,617,314.03.km. If you need the diameter of the star, you just need to multiple the radius by 2. However with the 2007 release of updated Hipparcos files, the radius is now calculated at being round 28.45. The figure is derived at by using the formula from SDSS and has been known to produce widely incorrect figures.

Gacrux Apparent and Absolute Magnitudes

Gacrux has an apparent magnitude of 1.59 which is how bright we see the star from Earth. Apparent Magnitude is also known as Visual Magnitude. If you used the 1997 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of -0.56 If you used the 2007 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of -0.58. Magnitude, whether it be apparent/visual or absolute magnitude is measured by a number, the smaller the number, the brighter the Star is. Our own Sun is the brightest star and therefore has the lowest of all magnitudes, -26.74. A faint star will have a high number.

Distance to Gacrux

Using the original Hipparcos data that was released in 1997, the parallax to the star was given as 37.09 which gave the calculated distance to Gacrux as 87.94 light years away from Earth or 26.96 parsecs. It would take a spaceship travelling at the speed of light, 87.94 years to get there. We don't have the technology or spaceship that can carry people over that distance yet.

In 2007, Hipparcos data was revised with a new parallax of 36.83 which put Gacrux at a distance of 88.56 light years or 27.15 parsecs. It should not be taken as though the star is moving closer or further away from us. It is purely that the distance was recalculated.

Using the 2007 distance, the star is roughly 5,600,050.47 Astronomical Units from the Earth/Sun give or take a few. An Astronomical Unit is the distance between Earth and the Sun. The number of A.U. is the number of times that the star is from the Earth compared to the Sun.

The star's Galacto-Centric Distance is 7,386.00 Parsecs or 24,090.42 Light Years. The Galacto-Centric Distance is the distance from the star to the Centre of the Galaxy which is Sagittarius A*.

Variable Type of Gacrux

The star is a eruptive Irregular variable type which means that its size changes over time. The Variable Type is usually named after the first star of that type to be spotted. Gacrux brightness ranges from a magnitude of 1.677 to a magnitude of 1.592 over its variable period. The smaller the magnitude, the brighter the star. Its variable/pulsating period lasts for 0.1 days (variability).

Source of Information

The source of the information if it has a Hip I.D. is from Simbad, the Hipparcos data library based at the University at Strasbourg, France. Hipparcos was a E.S.A. satellite operation launched in 1989 for four years. The items in red are values that I've calculated so they could well be wrong. Information regarding Metallicity and/or Mass is from the E.U. Exoplanets. The information was obtained as of 12th Feb 2017.

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Additional Gacrux Facts and Figures

Visual Facts


Primary / Proper / Traditional NameGacrux
Alternative NamesGamma Crucis, Gam Cru, HD 108903, HIP 61084, HR 4763, Gliese 470, NSV 05672
Spectral TypeM4III
Constellation's Main StarYes
Multiple Star SystemYes
Star TypeGiant Star
Colour red
GalaxyMilky Way
ConstellationCrux
Absolute Magnitude -0.56 / -0.58
Visual / Apparent Magnitude1.59
Naked Eye VisibleYes - Magnitudes
Right Ascension (R.A.)12h 31m 09.93
Declination (Dec.)-57° 06` 45.2
Galactic Latitude5.65 degrees
Galactic Longitude300.17 degrees
1997 Distance from Earth37.09 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 87.94 Light Years
 26.96 Parsecs
2007 Distance from Earth36.83 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 88.56 Light Years
 27.15 Parsecs
 5,600,050.47 Astronomical Units
Galacto-Centric Distance24,090.42 Light Years / 7,386.00 Parsecs
Proper Motion Dec.-265.08 ± 0.11 milliarcseconds/year
Proper Motion RA.28.23 ± 0.18 milliarcseconds/year
B-V Index1.60
Radial Velocity21.00 ± 0.10 km/s
Eccentricity0.15
Semi-Major Axis7334.00
Brightest in Night Sky25th

Companions (Multi-Star and Exoplanets) Facts


Exoplanet CountNone/Unaware

Variable Star Details


Variable Star ClassEruptive
Variable Star TypeIrregular
Mean Variability Period in Days0.074
Variable Magnitude Range (Brighter - Dimmer)1.592 - 1.677

Estimated Facts


Calculated Effective Temperature3,779 Kelvin

Sources and Links


SIMBAD SourceLink

Multi-Star System

The star has been identified as being a multi-star system, one in which there is at least one star in close orbit to another star or two or more stars orbiting a central point. The stars may be of equal mass, unequal mass where one star is stronger than the other or be in groups orbiting a central point which doesn't necessarily have to be a star. More information can be found on my dedicated multiple star systems page. The source of the info is Simbad. The file is dated 2000 so any differences between this and any other source will be down to the actual source from where the information came from.


Proper Motion mas/yr
H.D. IdB.D. IdStar CodeMagnitudeR.A.Dec.SpectrumColourYear
108903-56 5272.4A1.6000029.00000-267.00000M4Red
108925-56 5274.4B6.700003.00000-6.00000A2White1919
-56 5276.4C9.500001879

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Izabela SmigulskiMonday, 25th September 2017 2:57:40 PM
How can I find out which are the closest stars to Gacrux? Or is this not possible from our position e.g. dwarfs close to Gacrux may not be visible to the viewers from our position.
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