Alpha Centauri -
Is a triple star system - located in the constellation of Centaurus. If one could travel to the star our sun would appear as a bright star in the
constellation of Cassiopeia.
This view shows the position of the sun and Alpha Centauri from a distance of only 0.3 light years away. Since this is a triple system of stars it
should be interesting to know that the stars that comprise Alpha Centauri are known as A , B and C and the entire group is located about
4.36 light years from earth.
Alpha Centaur A, also known as Rigel Kentaurus is much like our sun; a yellow orange dwarf main sequence star about 1.09 times the
mass of our own star. It is 1.227 times the diameter of our sun and estimates are between 50 to 60 percent brighter too.
Alpha Centauri B - one of the companion stars, is reddish-orange dwarf main sequence star, that's 91 % the mass of our sun and roughly
half as bright. The pair A & B orbit in an ellipitical pattern around one another and come within the distance of the earth and Saturn at the
closest points. Period is 80 years.
Alpha Centauri C also known as "Proxima" is another companion star is a faint red dwarf main sequence star having only 12 % the mass of
the sun, and 19, 000 times fainter. This star is the closest to earth of syatem and is 4.22 light years away. If we were located on a planet the
same distance the earth is from the sun Proxima's disk would barely be discernable, keeping in mind the size of Proxima is only slightly larger
than the planet Jupiter.
The above diagram shows apparent view of Alpha Centauri from about 8.6 trillon miles away. At this distance the stars A and B would
probably not be easily resolved to the naked eye. Promina would very faint and invisible with out a telescope. The sun would be 4.695 light
years from our vantage point and would appear rather bright at -0.63 magnitude. The Alpha Centauri system of stars of course would be
To an observer on a planet revolving around the system the apparent position of our sun in the night sky would not be much diffrent than
what is shown in the diagram above.
Even though Alpha Centauri A,B, C are the closest stars to us with the excepton of the sun it is difficult to comprehend how far away these
stars really are. If we could compress the size of our sun to a period on this page Alpha Centuri would be 8 miles away!!
Chart generated in Starry Night Pro - vers 3.1