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Introducing you top 10 facts about Alpha Centauri, the closest star system and closest planetary system to our Solar System.
10. Sun’s Nearest Star System
Alpha Centauri is our nearest star neighbor, and is a mere 4.37 light years from the Sun. It is located closer still at 4.22 light-years distant. Proxima Centauri is therefore the Earth’s nearest neighboring star, although it would still take one of our current spacecraft around 50,000 years for to reach it.
9. Alpha Centauri Is a Triple Star System
It is a triple star system, consisting of three stars: α Centauri A (officially Rigil Kentaurus), α Centauri B (officially Toliman), and α Centauri C (officially Proxima Centauri).
8. First Recognized as A Binary System
Alpha Centauri was first recognized as a binary system in 1689 by Jean Richaud, a Jesuit priest, who was observing a serendipitously passing comet while he was observing from Puducherry in India.
7. Third Brightest Star in Sky
The closest star system is considered the third brightest star behind Sirius. To the naked eye, the Alpha Centauri system appears as a single star with a visual magnitude of -0.28, making it the third brightest star behind Sirius (-1.46) and Canopus (-0.72).
6. 1.1 Times The Mass and 1.519 Times The Luminosity of the Sun
Alpha Centauri A has 1.1 times the mass and 1.519 times the luminosity of the Sun, while Alpha Centauri B is smaller and cooler, at 0.907 times the Sun’s mass and 0.445 times its luminosity.
5. Yellow, Orange and Red Stars
Alpha Centauri A is a yellow star much like our sun, Alpha Centauri B is an orange star, and Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf roughly seven times smaller than our sun.
4. α Centauri
α Centauri is the system’s designation given by Johann Bayer in 1603. It bears the traditional name Rigil Kentaurus, which is a Latinisation of the Arabic name الرجل القنطورس ar-Rijl al-Qanṭūris, meaning “the Foot of the Centaur”.
3. Ancient People
It is famous, that Alpha Centauri or better to say closest star system featured strongly in ancient Egypt, where many temples were built (having their principal features aligning with the point on the horizon where the star rose). Alpha Centauri was also known to the ancient Chinese, who knew it as the “Second Star of the Southern Gate”. Centauri was known as “Bermbermgle”, in reference to two brave brothers who slayed the Emu, represented by the Coal Sack nebula in the nearby Crux constellation.
2. Closest Exoplanet to Earth
Around Proxima Centauri is an exoplanet which is called Proxima Centauri b. It is at 4.25 light-years distant (the closest planet discovered outside of our own solar system). According to scientists the exoplanet is located in the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri which may contain retain liquid water.
1. The Constellation of Centaurus
Alpha Centauri is located in the constellation of Centaurus, which is thought to represent a wise centaur from Greek mythology who featured in the lives and times of Jason and Heracles.
Source: Text; www.astronomytrek.com, Wikipedia
Image credit; earthsky.org
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