The double star Alpha Centauri

The double star Alpha Centauri

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Alpha Centauri double star. Coloured optical image of the double star Alpha Centauri, the third brightest star in the sky. The pair (A, at centre, and B, at lower right), along with a faint companion known as Proxima Centauri, form the nearest known star system to our own, at a distance of only 4.3 light years from Earth. Alpha Centauri A and B are about 20 arc seconds apart and orbit each other once every 80 years. The faint companion, Proxima Centauri, is the closest of the three to us. It is located over two degrees away from Alpha Centauri (out of the frame of this image) and orbits the pair with a period of millions of years.

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Keywords: alpha centauri, astronomy, binary star, closest to earth, double star, proxima centauri, science, star, stellar

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