SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False-colour X-ray image of Alpha Centauri, showing the two brightest stars comprising the system. Also known as Rigil Kent, Alpha Centauri is in fact a triple star system, but the third star is very faint. Alpha Centauri is the nearest star system to the Sun, and the third brightest star in the sky. The faint component, Proxima Centauri, is the closest star to the Sun, with the two brighter components, known as A and B, a little beyond. The image was recorded by the High Resolution Imager (HRI) X-ray telescope on board the Einstein Observatory satellite.
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