NOAO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NOAO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Negative optical photo of Alpha Centauri, the third brightest star in the sky. Alpha Centauri is in fact a double star; the presence of two stars (A & B) is just discernable here from the double diffraction spikes which surround the image. The pair, 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. Alpha Centauri A & B, are about 20 arc seconds apart & orbit each other every 80 years. Proxima Centauri lies over two degrees away, out of the frame of this photograph.
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