Meet You Neighbors

This is a Hubble image of the two bright stars in Alpha Centuari, the nearest star system to the Solar System. The system has a third member, a dim red dwarf not shown in this picture.

Alpha Centauri A and B are Sun-like stars. A (on the left) has 1.1 times the mass and 1.5 times the luminosity of the Sun. B is smaller and cooler, with 0.9 times the Sun’s mass and less than 0.5 times its luminosity. Alpha Centuari C, the red dwarf is the closest member of the system to us. It’s often called Proxima Centuari.

Image Credit: NASA

A Spin Around the Neighborhood

This is an imaginary journey from Earth to the Alpha Centauri system. We see the familiar constellation figures including the Southern Cross (Crux) and the bright stars Alpha and Beta Centauri as the trip begins. As we approach Alpha Centauri we pass a faint red star (Proxima Centauri) the closest star to Earth and the faintest component of the triple star system. The journey ends the bright double star Alpha Centauri A and B with the Sun visible in the background. Alpha Centauri B is known to be orbited by an Earth-mass planet, the closest exoplanet to the Solar System.

Video Credit: ESO