Alpha Centauri

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Related to Alpha Centauri B: Proxima Centauri

Alpha Centauri

(ăl`fə sĕntôr`ē), brightest star in the constellation CentaurusCentaurus
, southern constellation located N and E of Crux, the Southern Cross. It is known especially for its bright stars Alpha Centauri and Hadar. It also contains Centaurus A, a radio galaxy, as well as a globular star cluster visible to the naked eye.
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 and 3d-brightest star in the sky; also known as Rigil Kent or Rigil Kentaurus; 1992 position R.A. 14h39.1m, Dec. −60°49'. It is a yellow main-sequence star of the same spectral classspectral class,
in astronomy, a classification of the stars by their spectrum and luminosity. In 1885, E. C. Pickering began the first extensive attempt to classify the stars spectroscopically.
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 (G2 V) as the sun and of about the same size and mass; its apparent magnitudemagnitude,
in astronomy, measure of the brightness of a star or other celestial object. The stars cataloged by Ptolemy (2d cent. A.D.), all visible with the unaided eye, were ranked on a brightness scale such that the brightest stars were of 1st magnitude and the dimmest stars
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 is −0.26. Alpha Centauri is actually a triple-star system, the components being designated A, B, and C. Alpha Centauri C is also called Proxima Centauri because it is the closest star to the earth (other than the sun), at a distance of 4.28 light-years, components A and B are currently 4.34 light-years away. Proxima Centauri orbits about the common center of mass of the system with a period of more than 250,000 years, so that in about 125,000 years it will be more distant than A and B. In 2012 the discovery of a roughly earth-sized planet orbiting Alpha Centauri B was announced; the planet was reported to orbit the star closer than Mercury orbits the sun.

Alpha Centauri

(sen-tor -ÿ, -ee) (Rigil Kentaurus; α Cen) A binary star that is the brightest star in the constellation Centaurus, one of the brightest in the sky, and the second nearest star to the Sun. The two components, A and B, form a yellow-orange visual binary (separation 17″.7, period 80.1 years) and are similar in mass and size to the Sun. Proxima Centauri appears to be physically associated with α Cen; it is the nearest star to the Sun. mv : –0.01 (A), 1.33 (B), –0.27 (AB); Mv : 4.4 (A), 5.7 (B), 4.1 (AB); spectral type: G2 V (A), K1 V (B); mass: 1.09 (A), 0.89 (B) times solar mass; distance: 1.33 pc.

Alpha Centauri

[¦al·fə sen′tȯ·rē]
(astronomy)
A double star, the brightest in the constellation Centaurus; apart from the sun, it is the nearest bright star to earth, about 4.3 light-years away; spectral classification G2. Also known as Rigil Kent.

Alpha Centauri

brightest star in Centaurus constellation; closest star to Earth. [Astronomy: NCE, 74]
References in periodicals archive ?
3 number of light years from the Sun to Alpha Centauri B 40,000 years it would take us to get to Alpha Centauri B
An artist's impression of the newlydiscovered planet orbiting Alpha Centauri B, one of the Sun's closest neighbours.
While the newly discovered planet circles Alpha Centauri B, it's part of a system of three stars: Alpha Centauri A, B and the slightly more distant Proxima Centauri.
The European team spent four years using the European Southern Observatory in Chile to look for planets at Alpha Centauri B and its sister stars Alpha Centauri A and Proxima Centauri.
But a rocky planet so close to Alpha Centauri B suggests there could be more planets in the same system--perhaps rocky and a bit farther out, in the area where life could comfortably thrive.
Because this planet is so small, its gentle tugs pull only very slightly on Alpha Centauri B, shifting the star's position by about 50 centimeters each second.
The European team detected the planet by picking up the tiny wobbles in the motion of the star Alpha Centauri B created by the gravitational pull of the orbiting planet.