GRUS "The Crane", pronounced GRUSS,
MICROSCOPIUM "The Microscope", pronounced My-krah-SKOH-pee-um,
INDUS "The Indian" pronounced INN-duss.

Chart showing the constellations.

Grus is a constellation introduced on the 1603 star atlas of Johann Bayer. It represents a water bird, the Crane, although others have seen the flamingo here. It lies south of the bright star Fomalhaut which is high up slightly east of North mid evening, and is conspicuous because an arc of stars curves toward the second magnitude α Gru.

Microscopium, the Microscope is another of the southern hemisphere constellations representing scientific instruments introduced in the 1750's by the Frenchman Nicolas Louis de Lacaille. It is a small constellation with no conspicuous feature for recognition.

Indus, the American native Indian, was also introduced in Bayer's 1603 star atlas Uranometria. It has no stars brighter than the orange 3rd magnitude α Ind.

To find these constellations look almost directly overhead when looking South. The bright star Fomalhaut will then be very high but just behind you with Grus almost vertically above you at about 10:30 pm at the beginning of October and as soon as it is dark at the end of the month. Microscopium is to the right of Grus and Indus slightly lower to the South.

Chart showing the Constellations as seen high overhead, standing with back to the south at about 11 pm (NZST) mid September or 10 pm (NZDT) mid October.

Grus, Microscopium and Indus.

Constellation Pavo Constellation Tucana Constellation Phoenix Constellation Sculptor Piscis Austrinus Constellation Capricornus Constellation Telescopium Constellation Sagittarius

Some stars in the Constellations

α Gruis (Al Na'ir, meaning the bright one) is a blue-white magnitude 1.7 star, lying 91 light years away.

β Gru, is a magnitude 2.1 red giant star 270 light years away.

γ Gru is a magnitude 3.0 blue-white star 230 light years distant.

δ Gru is an unaided eye double star. The two stars are at different distances and therefore these unrelated stars are an optical double.

μ Gru is a pair of unaided eye stars which appear in the same line of sight by chance.

α Microscopii, is a magnitude 4.9 yellow giant star 240 light years away. It has a 10th magnitude companion, visible in small telescopes.

α Indi, is a magnitude 3.1 orange giant star 120 light years away.

β Ind, is a magnitude 3.7 orange giant star 270 light years away.

δ Ind, is a magnitude 4.4 white star 110 light years away.

ε Ind is a magnitude 4.7 yellow dwarf star similar to the Sun, but slightly smaller and cooler, lying 11.2 light years away, making it one of the Sun's closest similar neighbours.

θ Ind is a striking pair of stars 91 light years away of magnitudes 4.6 (pale yellow) and 7.0 (reddish), divisible in small telescopes.


Parts of one or two of the three constellations pass overhead as seen from all of New Zealand. From the south of the country they constellations are circumpolar so never set. As one moves north so parts of them will briefly be below the horizon when they are at their lowest. As a result the constellations are visible at some time during the night throughout the year, although ther are at their highest in the evening in Spring.