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Acrux (Alpha Crucis)





Alpha Crucis system
Acrux
The twelfth brightest star in the sky, the southernmost first magnitude star, and the brightest and southernmost star in Crux. Acrux is a multiple system.

A moderate telescope shows two similar B stars separated by 4 arc-seconds. Alpha1 is a B subgiant (visual magnitude 1.4, luminosity 25,000 Lsun, surface temperature 28,000 K). Alpha2, a B dwarf (visual magnitude 2.09, luminosity 16,000 Lsun, temperature 26,000 K).

Alpha2 is a 13-Msun single star but Alpha1 is a spectroscopic binary whose 14- and 10-Msun components are separated by about one AU and complete an orbit every 76 days. Alpha1 and Alpha2, with a minimum separation of 430 AU, take at least 1,500 years to circle around each other. Another B subgiant lies 90" away from the triplet but, despite its similar velocity through space, is probably a more distant star that happens to lie along the same line of sight.


visual magnitude 0.77 (combined), 1.40/2.09
absolute magnitude -4.19/-3.79
spectral type B0.5IV + B1V
distance 320 light-years (98 pc)
position R.A. 12h 26m 35.9s,
Dec. -63 05' 57"
other designations HR 4730/4731, CD -622745,
HD 108248/108249, SAO 251904,
FK5 462, HIP 60718.


Related entry

   • brightest stars


Related category

   • NOTABLE STARS