Alpha Centauri

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α Cen A

α¹ Centauri, GJ 559 A, HR 5459, HD 128620, GCTP 3309.00, LHS 50, SAO 252838, HIP 71683

α Cen B

α² Centauri, GJ 559 B, HR 5460, HD 128621, LHS 51, HIP 71681

α Cen C (= Proxima Cen)

Alpha Centauri (α Centauri, α Cen; also known as Rigil Kentaurus, Rigil Kent, or Toliman) is the brightest star in the southern constellation of Centaurus. To the unaided eye it appears as a single star, whose total visual magnitude of -0.27 would identify it as the third brightest star in the night sky behind -0.04 magnitude, Arcturus. Alpha Centauri is a binary star system, designated Alpha Centauri AB (α Cen AB), whose individual components are named Alpha Centauri A (α Cen A) and Alpha Centauri B (α Cen B). Both stars lie 1.34 parsecs or 4.37 light years away from our Sun.[9]

A third star, known as Proxima Centauri, Proxima or Alpha Centauri C (α Cen C), is likely gravitationally associated with the closer binary, Alpha Centauri AB. Proxima is now placed at the slightly closer distance of 1.29 parsecs or 4.24 light years from the Sun, making it the closest star to the Sun, even though it is not visible to the naked-eye. True separation of Proxima from Alpha Centauri AB is about 0.06 parsecs, 0.2 light years or 13,000 Astronomical Units (AU), equivalent to 400 times the size of Neptune's orbit.


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