Alpha Centauri A has 1.1 times the mass and 1.519 times the luminosity of the Sun, while Alpha Centauri B is smaller and cooler, at 0.907 times the Sun's mass and 0.445 times its luminosity. The pair orbit around a common centre with an orbital period of 79.91 years. Their elliptical orbit is eccentric, so that the distance between A and B varies from 35.6 AU (astronomical units), or about the distance between Pluto and the Sun, to 11.2 AU, or about the distance between Saturn and the Sun.
Alpha Centauri C, or Proxima Centauri, is a small and faint red dwarf (Class M). Though not visible to the naked eye, Proxima Centauri is the closest star to the Sun at a distance of 4.24 light-years (1.30 pc), slightly closer than Alpha Centauri AB. Currently, the distance between Proxima Centauri and Alpha Centauri AB is about 13,000 astronomical units (0.21 ly), equivalent to about 430 times the radius of Neptune's orbit.
Alpha Centauri is the brightest object in the constellation of Centaurus (top left).
α Centauri (Latinised to Alpha Centauri) is the system's designation given by Johann Bayer in 1603. It bears the traditional name Rigil Kentaurus, which is a Latinisation of the Arabic name رِجْل القِنْطورُس Rijl al-Qinṭūrus, meaning 'the Foot of the Centaur'.
The name is frequently abbreviated to Rigil Kent or even Rigil, though the latter name is better known for Beta Orionis (Rigel).
An alternative name found in European sources, Toliman, is an approximation of the Arabic الظَّلِيمَان aẓ-Ẓalīmān (in older transcription, aṭ-Ṭhalīmān), meaning 'the (two male) Ostriches', an appellation Zakariya al-Qazwini had applied to Lambda and Mu Sagittarii, also in the southern hemisphere.
A third name that has been applied is Bungula (/ˈbʌŋɡjuːlə/), of obscure origin. Allen can only surmise it may have been coined from the Greek letter beta (β) and Latin ungula 'hoof'.
Alpha Centauri C was discovered in 1915 by Robert T. A. Innes, who suggested that it be named Proxima Centaurus, from Latin 'the nearest [star] of Centaurus'. The name Proxima Centauri later became more widely used and is now listed by the IAU as the approved proper name.
In 2016, the Working Group on Star Names of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), having decided to attribute proper names to individual component stars rather than to multiple systems, approved the name Rigil Kentaurus (/ˈraɪdʒəlkɛnˈtɔːrəs/) as being restricted to Alpha Centauri A and the name Proxima Centauri (/ˈprɒksɪməsɛnˈtɔːraɪ/) for Alpha Centauri C.
On 10 August 2018, the IAU approved the name Toliman (/ˈtɒlɪmæn/) for Alpha Centauri B.
Alpha Centauri is a triple star system, with its two main stars, Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B, being a binary component. The AB designation, or older A×B, denotes the mass centre of a main binary system relative to companion star(s) in a multiple star system.AB-C refers to the component of Proxima Centauri in relation to the central binary, being the distance between the centre of mass and the outlying companion. Because the distance between Proxima (C) and either of Alpha Centauri A or B is similar, the AB binary system is sometimes treated as a single gravitational object.
Apparent and true orbits of Alpha Centauri. The A component is held stationary, and the relative orbital motion of the B component is shown. The apparent orbit (thin ellipse) is the shape of the orbit as seen by an observer on Earth. The true orbit is the shape of the orbit viewed perpendicular to the plane of the orbital motion. According to the radial velocity vs. time, the radial separation of A and B along the line of sight had reached a maximum in 2007, with B being further from Earth than A. The orbit is divided here into 80 points: each step refers to a timestep of approx. 0.99888 years or 364.84 days.
The A and B components of Alpha Centauri have an orbital period of 79.91 years. Their orbit is moderately eccentric, e = 0.5179; their closest approach or periastron is 11.2 AU (1.68 billion km), or about the distance between the Sun and Saturn; and their furthest separation or apastron is 35.6 AU (5.33 billion km), about the distance between the Sun and Pluto. The most recent periastron was in August 1955 and the next will occur in May 2035; the most recent apastron was in May 1995 and will next occur in 2075.
Viewed from Earth, the apparent orbit of A and B means that their separation and position angle (PA) are in continuous change throughout their projected orbit. Observed stellar positions in 2019 are separated by 4.92 arcsec through the PA of 337.1°, increasing to 5.49 arcsec through 345.3° in 2020. The closest recent approach was in February 2016, at 4.0 arcsec through the PA of 300°. The observed maximum separation of these stars is about 22 arcsec, while the minimum distance is 1.7 arcsec. The widest separation occurred during February 1976, and the next will be in January 2056.
Alpha Centauri C is about 13,000 AU away from Alpha Centauri AB. This is equivalent to 0.21 ly or 1.9 trillion km—about 5% the distance between Alpha Centauri AB and the Sun. Until 2017, measurements of its small speed and its trajectory were of too little accuracy and duration in years to determine whether it is bound to Alpha Centauri AB or unrelated.
Radial velocity measurements made in 2017 were precise enough to show that Proxima Centauri and Alpha Centauri AB are gravitationally bound. The orbital period of Proxima Centauri is approximately 547000+6600 −4000 years, with an eccentricity of 0.50 ± 0.08, much more eccentric than Mercury's. Proxima Centauri comes within 4300+1100 −900AU of AB at periastron, and its apastron occurs at 13000+300 −100AU.
The relative sizes and colours of stars in the Alpha Centauri system, compared to the Sun
Asteroseismic studies, chromospheric activity, and stellar rotation (gyrochronology) are all consistent with the Alpha Centauri system being similar in age to, or slightly older than, the Sun. Asteroseismic analyses that incorporate tight observational constraints on the stellar parameters for the Alpha Centauri stars have yielded age estimates of 4.85±0.5 Gyr,5.0±0.5 Gyr, 5.2 ± 1.9 Gyr, 6.4 Gyr, and 6.52±0.3 Gyr. Age estimates for the stars based on chromospheric activity (Calcium H & K emission) yield 4.4 ± 2.1 Gyr, whereas gyrochronology yields 5.0±0.3 Gyr.Stellar evolution theory implies both stars are slightly older than the Sun at 5 to 6 billion years, as derived by their mass and spectral characteristics.
From the orbital elements, the total mass of Alpha Centauri AB is about 2.0 M☉[note 2]—or twice that of the Sun. The average individual stellar masses are 1.09 M☉ and 0.90 M☉, respectively, though slightly higher masses have been quoted in recent years, such as 1.14 M☉ and 0.92 M☉, or totalling 2.06 M☉. Alpha Centauri A and B have absolute magnitudes of +4.38 and +5.71, respectively.
Alpha Centauri A
Alpha Centauri A, also known as Rigil Kentaurus, is the principal member, or primary, of the binary system. It is a solar-like main-sequence star with a similar yellowish colour, whose stellar classification is spectral type G2 V; it is about 10 percent more massive than the Sun, with a radius about 22 percent larger. When considered among the individual brightest stars in the sky (excluding the Sun), it is the fourth brightest at an apparent magnitude of −0.01, being slightly fainter than Arcturus at an apparent magnitude of −0.05.
The type of magnetic activity on Alpha Centauri A is comparable to that of the Sun, showing coronal variability due to star spots, as modulated by the rotation of the star. However, since 2005 the activity level has fallen into a deep minimum that might be similar to the Sun's historical Maunder Minimum. Alternatively, it may have a very long stellar activity cycle and is slowly recovering from a minimum phase.
Alpha Centauri B
Alpha Centauri B, also known as Toliman, is the secondary star of the binary system. It is a main-sequence star of spectral type K1 V, making it more an orange colour than Alpha Centauri A; it has around 90 percent the mass of the Sun and a 14 percent smaller diameter. Although it has a lower luminosity than A, Alpha Centauri B emits more energy in the X-ray band. Its light curve varies on a short time scale, and there has been at least one observed flare. It is more magnetically active than Alpha Centauri A, showing a cycle of 8.2±0.2 yr compared to 11 years for the Sun, and about half the minimum-to-peak variation in coronal luminosity of the Sun. Alpha Centauri B has an apparent magnitude of +1.35, slightly dimmer than Mimosa (Beta Crucis).
Alpha Centauri C (Proxima Centauri)
Alpha Centauri C, better known as Proxima Centauri, is a small main-sequence red dwarf of spectral class M6 Ve. It has an absolute magnitude of +15.60, over 20,000 times fainter than the Sun. Its mass is calculated to be 0.1221M☉. It is the closest star to the Sun but is too faint to be visible to the naked eye.
Relative positions of Sun, Alpha Centauri AB and Proxima Centauri. Grey dot is projection of Proxima Centauri, located at the same distance as Alpha Centauri AB.
Location of Alpha Centauri in Centaurus
The two bright stars at the lower right are Alpha (right) and Beta Centauri (left, above antenna). A line drawn through them points to the four bright stars of the Southern Cross, just to the right of the dome of the Danish 1.54-metre telescope at La Silla Observatory in Chile.
Alpha Centauri AB taken in daylight by holding a Canon Powershot S100 in line with the eyepiece of a 110 mm refractor. The photo is one of the best frames of a video. The double star is clearly visible.
As seen from Earth, Proxima Centauri is 2.2° southwest from Alpha Centauri AB, about four times the angular diameter of the Moon. Proxima Centauri appears as a deep-red star of a typical apparent magnitude of 11.1 in a sparsely populated star field, requiring moderately sized telescopes to be seen. Listed as V645 Cen in the General Catalogue of Variable Stars Version 4.2, this UV Ceti-type flare star can unexpectedly brighten rapidly by as much as 0.6 magnitudes at visual wavelengths, then fade after only a few minutes. Some amateur and professional astronomers regularly monitor for outbursts using either optical or radio telescopes. In August 2015, the largest recorded flares of the star occurred, with the star becoming 8.3 times brighter than normal on 13 August, in the B band (blue light region).
Alpha Centauri is listed in the 2nd-century star catalog of Ptolemy. He gave its ecliptic coordinates, but texts differ as to whether the ecliptic latitude reads 44° 10′ South or 41° 10′ South. (Presently the ecliptic latitude is 43.5° South, but it has decreased by a fraction of a degree since Ptolemy's time due to proper motion.) In Ptolemy's time, Alpha Centauri was visible from Alexandria, Egypt, at 31° N, but, due to precession, its declination is now –60° 51′ South, and it can no longer be seen at that latitude. English explorer Robert Hues brought Alpha Centauri to the attention of European observers in his 1592 work Tractatus de Globis, along with Canopus and Achernar, noting:
Now, therefore, there are but three Stars of the first magnitude that I could perceive in all those parts which are never seene here in England. The first of these is that bright Star in the sterne of Argo which they call Canobus. The second [Achernar] is in the end of Eridanus. The third [Alpha Centauri] is in the right foote of the Centaure.
The binary nature of Alpha Centauri AB was recognised in December 1689 by Jean Richaud, while observing a passing comet from his station in Puducherry. Alpha Centauri was only the second binary star to be discovered, preceded by Acrux.
The large proper motion of Alpha Centauri AB was discovered by Manuel John Johnson, observing from Saint Helena, who informed Thomas Henderson at the Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope of it. The parallax of Alpha Centauri was subsequently determined by Henderson from many exacting positional observations of the AB system between April 1832 and May 1833. He withheld his results, however, because he suspected they were too large to be true, but eventually published them in 1839 after Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel released his own accurately determined parallax for 61 Cygni in 1838. For this reason, Alpha Centauri is sometimes considered as the second star to have its distance measured because Henderson's work was not fully acknowledged at first. (The distance of Alpha Centauri from the Earth is now reckoned at 4.396 ly or 41.59 trillion km.)
Alpha Centauri A is of the same stellar type G2 as the Sun, while Alpha Centauri B is a K1-type star.
By 1926, William Stephen Finsen calculated the approximate orbit elements close to those now accepted for this system. All future positions are now sufficiently accurate for visual observers to determine the relative places of the stars from a binary star ephemeris. Others, like D. Pourbaix (2002), have regularly refined the precision of new published orbital elements.
Robert T. A. Innes discovered Proxima Centauri in 1915 by blinking photographic plates taken at different times during a proper motion survey. These showed large proper motion and parallax similar in both size and direction to those of Alpha Centauri AB, suggesting that Proxima Centauri is part of the Alpha Centauri system and slightly closer to Earth than Alpha Centauri AB. Lying 4.24 ly (1.30 pc) away, Proxima Centauri is the nearest star to the Sun.
All components of Alpha Centauri display significant proper motion against the background sky. Over centuries, this causes their apparent positions to slowly change. Proper motion was unknown to ancient astronomers. Most assumed that the stars are permanently fixed on the celestial sphere, as stated in the works of the philosopher Aristotle. In 1718, Edmond Halley found that some stars had significantly moved from their ancient astrometric positions.
In the 1830s, Thomas Henderson discovered the true distance to Alpha Centauri by analysing his many astrometric mural circle observations. He then realised this system also likely had a high proper motion. In this case, the apparent stellar motion was found using Nicolas Louis de Lacaille's astrometric observations of 1751–1752, by the observed differences between the two measured positions in different epochs.
Calculated proper motion of the centre of mass for Alpha Centauri AB is about 3620 mas (milli-arcseconds) per year toward the west and 694 mas/y toward the north, giving an overall motion of 3686 mas/y in a direction 11° north of west.[note 4] The motion of the centre of mass is about 6.1 arcmin each century, or 1.02° each millennium. The velocity in the western direction is 23.0 km/s and in the northerly direction 4.4 km/s. Using spectroscopy the mean radial velocity has been determined to be around 22.4 km/s towards the Solar System. This gives a speed with respect to the sun of 32.4 km/s, very close to the peak in the distribution of speeds of nearby stars.
Since Alpha Centauri AB is almost exactly in the plane of the Milky Way as viewed from Earth, many stars appear behind it. In early May 2028, Alpha Centauri A will pass between the Earth and a distant red star, when there will be a 45% probability that an Einstein ring will be observed. Other conjunctions will also occur in the coming decades, allowing accurate measurement of proper motions and possibly giving information on planets.
Predicted future changes
Distances of the nearest stars from 20,000 years ago until 80,000 years in the future
Animation showing motion of Alpha Centauri through the sky. (The other stars are held fixed for didactic reasons.) "Oggi" means today. "Anni" means years.
Based on the system's common proper motion and radial velocities, Alpha Centauri will continue to change its position in the sky significantly and will gradually brighten. For example, in about 6,200 AD, α Centauri's true motion will cause an extremely rare first-magnitude stellar conjunction with Beta Centauri, forming a brilliant optical double star in the southern sky. It will then pass just north of the Southern Cross or Crux, before moving northwest and up towards the present celestial equator and away from the galactic plane. By about 26,700 AD, in the present-day constellation of Hydra, Alpha Centauri will reach perihelion at 0.90 pc or 2.9 ly away, though later calculations suggest that this will occur in 27,000 AD. At nearest approach, Alpha Centauri will attain a maximum apparent magnitude of −0.86, comparable to present-day magnitude of Canopus, but it will still not surpass that of Sirius, which will brighten incrementally over the next 60,000 years, and will continue to be the brightest star as seen from Earth (other than the Sun) for the next 210,000 years.
The Alpha Centauri system as a whole has two confirmed planets, both of them around Proxima Centauri. While other planets have been claimed to exist around all of the stars, none of these discoveries have been confirmed.
Proxima Centauri c is an exoplanet that was formally discovered in 2020 and could be a super-Earth or mini-Neptune. It has a mass of roughly 7 M🜨 and orbits about 1.49 AU from Proxima Centauri with a period of 1,928 days (5.28 yr). In June 2020, a large ring system encircling the planet was possibly detected. While not formally confirmed, its existence is undisputed.
In 2020, a paper released while refining the mass of Proxima b detected a radial-velocity curve with a periodicity of 5.15 days. While it may be related to stellar activity or simply noise from the detection algorithm, its consistency is similar to that of an orbiting exoplanet with a mass of 0.29 M🜨.
The discovery image of Alpha Centauri's candidate Neptunian planet, marked here as "C1."
In 2021, a candidate exoplanet named Candidate 1 (or abbreviated as C1) was detected around Alpha Centauri A, thought to orbit at approximately 1.1 AU with a period of about one year, and to have a mass between that of Neptune and one-half that of Saturn, though it may be a dust disk or an artifact. The possibility of C1 being a background star has been ruled out. If this candidate is confirmed, the temporary name C1 will most likely be replaced with the scientific designation Alpha Centauri Ab in accordance with current naming conventions.
In 2012, a planet around Alpha Centauri B was reported, Alpha Centauri Bb, but in 2015 a new analysis concluded that that report was an artifact of the data analysis.
A possible transit of a separate exoplanet in 2013 has been observed. The transit event could correspond to a planetary body with a radius around 0.92 R🜨. This planet would most likely orbit Alpha Centauri B with an orbital period of 20.4 days or less, with only a 5 percent chance of it having a longer orbit. The median of the likely orbits is 12.4 days. Its orbit would likely have an eccentricity of 0.24 or less. It likely has lakes of molten lava and would be far too close to Alpha Centauri B to harbour life.
Additional planets may exist in the Alpha Centauri system, either orbiting Alpha Centauri A or Alpha Centauri B individually, or in large orbits around Alpha Centauri AB. Because both stars are fairly similar to the Sun (for example, in age and metallicity), astronomers have been especially interested in making detailed searches for planets in the Alpha Centauri system. Several established planet-hunting teams have used various radial velocity or star transit methods in their searches around these two bright stars. All the observational studies have so far failed to find evidence for brown dwarfs or gas giants.
In 2009, computer simulations showed that a planet might have been able to form near the inner edge of Alpha Centauri B's habitable zone, which extends from 0.5 to 0.9 AU from the star. Certain special assumptions, such as considering that the Alpha Centauri pair may have initially formed with a wider separation and later moved closer to each other (as might be possible if they formed in a dense star cluster), would permit an accretion-friendly environment farther from the star. Bodies around Alpha Centauri A would be able to orbit at slightly farther distances due to its stronger gravity. In addition, the lack of any brown dwarfs or gas giants in close orbits around Alpha Centauri make the likelihood of terrestrial planets greater than otherwise. A theoretical study indicates that a radial velocity analysis might detect a hypothetical planet of 1.8 M🜨 in Alpha Centauri B's habitable zone.
Current estimates place the probability of finding an Earth-like planet around Alpha Centauri at roughly 75%. The observational thresholds for planet detection in the habitable zones by the radial velocity method are currently (2017) estimated to be about 50 M🜨 for Alpha Centauri A, 8 M🜨 for Alpha Centauri B, and 0.5 M🜨 for Proxima Centauri.
In the Solar System, it was once thought that Jupiter and Saturn were probably crucial in perturbing comets into the inner Solar System, providing the inner planets with a source of water and various other ices. However, since isotope measurements of the deuterium to hydrogen (D/H) ratio in comets Halley, Hyakutake, Hale–Bopp, 2002T7, and Tuttle yield values approximately twice that of Earth's oceanic water, more recent models and research predict that less than 10% of Earth's water was supplied from comets. In the Alpha Centauri system, Proxima Centauri may have influenced the planetary disk as the Alpha Centauri system was forming, enriching the area around Alpha Centauri with volatile materials. This would be discounted if, for example, Alpha Centauri B happened to have gas giants orbiting Alpha Centauri A (or vice versa), or if Alpha Centauri A and B themselves were able to perturb comets into each other's inner system as Jupiter and Saturn presumably have done in the Solar System. Such icy bodies probably also reside in Oort clouds of other planetary systems. When they are influenced gravitationally by either the gas giants or disruptions by passing nearby stars, many of these icy bodies then travel star-wards. Such ideas also apply to the close approach of Alpha Centauri or other stars to the Solar System, when, in the distant future, the Oort Cloud might be disrupted enough to increase the number of active comets.
To be in the habitable zone, a planet around Alpha Centauri A would have an orbital radius of between about 1.2 and 2.1 AU so as to have similar planetary temperatures and conditions for liquid water to exist. For the slightly less luminous and cooler Alpha Centauri B, the habitable zone is between about 0.7 and 1.2 AU.
With the goal of finding evidence of such planets, both Proxima Centauri and Alpha Centauri AB were among the listed "Tier 1" target stars for NASA'sSpace Interferometry Mission (SIM). Detecting planets as small as three Earth-masses or smaller within two AU of a "Tier 1" target would have been possible with this new instrument. The SIM mission, however, was cancelled due to financial issues in 2010.
Based on observations between 2007 and 2012, a study found a slight excess of emissions in the 24 µm (mid/far-infrared) band surrounding α Centauri AB, which may be interpreted as evidence for a sparse circumstellar disc or dense interplanetary dust. The total mass was estimated to be between 10−7 to 10−6 the mass of the Moon, or 10–100 times the mass of the Solar System's zodiacal cloud. If such a disc existed around both stars, α Centauri A's disc would likely be stable to 2.8 AU, and α Centauri B's would likely be stable to 2.5 AU. This would put A's disc entirely within the frost line, and a small part of B's outer disc just outside.
In modern literature, colloquial alternative names of Alpha Centauri include Rigil Kent (also Rigel Kent and variants;[note 8]/ˈraɪdʒəlˈkɛnt/) and Toliman (the latter of which became the proper name of Alpha Centauri B on 10 August 2018 by approval of the IAU).
Rigil Kent is short for Rigil Kentaurus, which is sometimes further abbreviated to Rigil or Rigel, though that is ambiguous with Beta Orionis, which is also called Rigel.
The name Toliman originates with Jacobus Golius' 1669 edition of Al-Farghani's Compendium. Tolimân is Golius' latinisation of the Arabic name الظلمان al-Ẓulmān "the ostriches", the name of an asterism of which Alpha Centauri formed the main star.
During the 19th century, the northern amateur popularist Elijah H. Burritt used the now-obscure name Bungula, possibly coined from "β" and the Latinungula ("hoof").
Together, Alpha and Beta Centauri form the "Southern Pointers" or "The Pointers", as they point towards the Southern Cross, the asterism of the constellation of Crux.
In January 2017, Breakthrough Initiatives and the ESO entered a collaboration to search for habitable planets in the Alpha Centauri system. The agreement involves Breakthrough Initiatives providing funding for an upgrade to the VISIR (VLT Imager and Spectrometer for mid-Infrared) instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile. This upgrade will greatly increase the likelihood of planet detection in the system.
^This is calculated for a fixed latitude by knowing the star's declination (δ) using the formulae (90°+ δ). Alpha Centauri's declination is −60° 50′, so the observed latitude where the star is circumpolar will be south of −29° 10'S or 29°. Similarly, the place where Alpha Centauri never rises for northern observers is north of the latitude (90°+ δ) N or +29°N.
^Proper motions are expressed in smaller angular units than arcsec, being measured in milli-arcsec (mas.) or one-thousandth of an arcsec. Negative values for proper motion in RA indicate the sky motion is from east to west, and in declination north to south.
^These mass limits are calculated from the observed radius of ~3.3-7R🜨 applied to the equation quoted, and presumably used, to calculate the planet mass from the planet radius in the K. Wagner et al 2021 paper - R ∝ M0.55 (although this radius-mass relationship is for low-mass planets and not for larger gas giants). Therefore 3.31.82 = 8.77M🜨 and 71.82 = 34.52M🜨. The Msini ≥ 53M🜨 is for a planet at the outer edge of the conservative habitable zone, 2.1 AU, and so the upper mass limit is lower than that for the C1 planet at just 1.1 AU.
^The coordinates of the Sun would be diametrically opposite Alpha Centauri AB, at α=02h 39m 36.4951s, δ=+60° 50′ 02.308″
^Spellings include Rigjl Kentaurus, Hyde T., "Ulugh Beighi Tabulae Stellarum Fixarum", Tabulae Long. ac Lat. Stellarum Fixarum ex Observatione Ulugh Beighi, Oxford, 1665, p. 142., Hyde T., "In Ulugh Beighi Tabulae Stellarum Fixarum Commentarii", op. cit., p. 67., Portuguese Riguel Kentaurus da Silva Oliveira, R., "Crux Australis: o Cruzeiro do Sul" Archived 6 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Artigos: Planetario Movel Inflavel AsterDomus.
^Weighted parallax based on parallaxes from van Altena et al. (1995) and Söderhjelm (1999).
^ abcdefghijVan Leeuwen, F. (2007). "Validation of the new Hipparcos reduction". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 474 (2): 653–664. arXiv:0708.1752. Bibcode:2007A&A...474..653V. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20078357. S2CID 18759600.
^ abcdefDucati, J. R. (2002). "VizieR Online Data Catalog: Catalogue of Stellar Photometry in Johnson's 11-color system". CDS/ADC Collection of Electronic Catalogues. 2237: 0. Bibcode:2002yCat.2237....0D.
^ abcTorres, C. A. O.; Quast, G. R.; da Silva, L .; de la Reza, R.; Melo, C. H. F.; Sterzik, M. (2006). "Search for associations containing young stars (SACY)". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 460 (3): 695–708. arXiv:astro-ph/0609258. Bibcode:2006A&A...460..695T. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20065602. ISSN 0004-6361. S2CID 16080025.
^ abValenti, Jeff A.; Fischer, Debra A. (2005). "Spectroscopic Properties of Cool Stars (SPOCS). I. 1040 F, G, and K Dwarfs from Keck, Lick, and AAT Planet Search Programs". The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. 159 (1): 141–166. Bibcode:2005ApJS..159..141V. doi:10.1086/430500. ISSN 0067-0049.
^ abWilkinson, John (2012). "The Sun and Stars". New Eyes on the Sun. Astronomers' Universe. pp. 219–236. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-22839-1_10. ISBN 978-3-642-22838-4. ISSN 1614-659X.
^ abcKervella, P.; Bigot, L.; Gallenne, A.; Thévenin, F. (January 2017). "The radii and limb darkenings of α Centauri A and B. Interferometric measurements with VLTI/PIONIER". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 597. A137. arXiv:1610.06185. Bibcode:2017A&A...597A.137K. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201629505. S2CID 55597767.
^ abGilli G.; Israelian G.; Ecuvillon A.; Santos N. C.; Mayor M. (2006). "Abundances of Refractory Elements in the Atmospheres of Stars with Extrasolar Planets". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 449 (2): 723–36. arXiv:astro-ph/0512219. Bibcode:2006A&A...449..723G. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20053850. S2CID 13039037. libcode 2005astro.ph.12219G.
^DeWarf, L.; Datin, K.; Guinan, E. (2010). "X-ray, FUV, and UV Observations of α Centauri B: Determination of Long-term Magnetic Activity Cycle and Rotation Period". The Astrophysical Journal. 722 (1): 343–357. arXiv:1009.1652. Bibcode:2010ApJ...722..343D. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/722/1/343. S2CID 118635144.
^Raassen, A. J. J.; Ness, J.-U.; Mewe, R.; Van Der Meer, R. L. J.; Burwitz, V.; Kaastra, J. S. (2003). "Chandra-LETGS X-ray observation of α Centauri: A nearby (G2V + K1V) binary system". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 400 (2): 671–678. Bibcode:2003A&A...400..671R. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20021899.
^Joyce, M.; Chaboyer, B. (2018). "Classically and Asteroseismically Constrained 1D Stellar Evolution Models of α Centauri a and B Using Empirical Mixing Length Calibrations". The Astrophysical Journal. 864 (1): 99. arXiv:1806.07567. Bibcode:2018ApJ...864...99J. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aad464. S2CID 119482849.
^ظَلِيمٌ ذ, in Edward William Lane, An Arabic–English Lexicon
^Innes, R. T. A. (October 1915). "A Faint Star of Large Proper Motion". Circular of the Union Observatory Johannesburg. 30: 235–236. Bibcode:1915CiUO...30..235I.
^Innes, R. T. A. (September 1917). "Parallax of the Faint Proper Motion Star Near Alpha of Centaurus. 1900. R.A. 14 h 22 m 55s.-0s 6t. Dec-62° 15'2 0'8 t". Circular of the Union Observatory Johannesburg. 40: 331–336. Bibcode:1917CiUO...40..331I.
^Stevenson, Angus, ed. (2010), Oxford Dictionary of English, OUP Oxford, p. 1431, ISBN 978-0-19-957112-3.
^Alden, Harold L. (1928). "Alpha and Proxima Centauri". Astronomical Journal. 39 (913): 20–23. Bibcode:1928AJ.....39...20A. doi:10.1086/104871.
^ abE. E. Mamajek; L. A. Hillenbrand (2008). "Improved Age Estimation for Solar-Type Dwarfs Using Activity-Rotation Diagnostics". Astrophysical Journal. 687 (2): 1264–1293. arXiv:0807.1686. Bibcode:2008ApJ...687.1264M. doi:10.1086/591785. S2CID 27151456.
^Bazot, M.; Bourguignon, S.; Christensen-Dalsgaard, J. (2012). "A Bayesian approach to the modelling of alpha Cen A". MNRAS. 427 (3): 1847–1866. arXiv:1209.0222. Bibcode:2012MNRAS.427.1847B. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2012.21818.x. S2CID 118414505.
^Miglio, A.; Montalbán, J. (2005). "Constraining fundamental stellar parameters using seismology. Application to α Centauri AB". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 441 (2): 615–629. arXiv:astro-ph/0505537. Bibcode:2005A&A...441..615M. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20052988. S2CID 119078808.
^Thoul, A.; Scuflaire, R.; Noels, A.; Vatovez, B.; Briquet, M.; Dupret, M.-A.; Montalban, J. (2003). "A New Seismic Analysis of Alpha Centauri". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 402: 293–297. arXiv:astro-ph/0303467. Bibcode:2003A&A...402..293T. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20030244. S2CID 15886763.
^Eggenberger, P.; Charbonnel, C.; Talon, S.; Meynet, G.; Maeder, A.; Carrier, F.; Bourban, G. (2004). "Analysis of α Centauri AB including seismic constraints". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 417: 235–246. arXiv:astro-ph/0401606. Bibcode:2004A&A...417..235E. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20034203. S2CID 119487043.
^ ab"The Colour of Stars". Australia Telescope, Outreach and Education. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. 21 December 2004. Archived from the original on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
^ abAyres, Thomas R. (March 2014). "The Ups and Downs of α Centauri". The Astronomical Journal. 147 (3): 12. arXiv:1401.0847. Bibcode:2014AJ....147...59A. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/147/3/59. S2CID 117715969. 59.
^ abcNorton, A. P.; Ed. I. Ridpath (1986). Norton's 2000.0 :Star Atlas and Reference Handbook. Longman Scientific and Technical. pp. 39–40.
^Mitton, Jacquelin (1993). The Penguin Dictionary of Astronomy. Penguin Books. p. 148. ISBN 9780140512267.
^James, Andrew. "'The '"Constellations : Part 2 Culmination Times"'". Sydney, New South Wales: Southern Astronomical Delights. Retrieved 6 August 2008.
^Benedict, G. Fritz; et al. (1998). Donahue, R. A.; Bookbinder, J. A. (eds.). Proxima Centauri: Time-resolved Astrometry of a Flare Site using HST Fine Guidance Sensor 3. ASP Conf. Ser. 154, The Tenth Cambridge Workshop on Cool Stars, Stellar Systems and the Sun. p. 1212. Bibcode:1998ASPC..154.1212B.
^Boffin, Henri M. J.; et al. (4 December 2013). "Possible astrometric discovery of a substellar companion to the closest binary brown dwarf system WISE J104915.57–531906.1". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 561: L4. arXiv:1312.1303. Bibcode:2014A&A...561L...4B. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201322975. S2CID 33043358.
^Ptolemaeus, Claudius (1984). Ptolemy's Almagest(PDF). Translated by Toomer, G. J. London: Gerald Duckworth & Co. p. 368, note 136. ISBN 978-0-7156-1588-1. Retrieved 22 December 2017.[dead link]
^Kameswara-Rao, N.; Vagiswari, A.; Louis, C. (1984). "Father J. Richaud and Early Telescope Observations in India". Bulletin of the Astronomical Society of India. 12: 81. Bibcode:1984BASI...12...81K.
^ abPannekoek, Anton (1989) . A History of Astronomy. Dover. pp. 345–346. ISBN 978-0-486-65994-7.
^"Best image of Alpha Centauri A and B". spacetelescope.org. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
^Herschel, J. F. W. (1847). Results of Astronomical Observations made during the years 1834,5,6,7,8 at the Cape of Good Hope; being the completion of a telescopic survey of the whole surface of the visible heavens, commenced in 1825. Smith, Elder and Co, London. Bibcode:1847raom.book.....H.
^"Sixth Catalogue of Orbits of Visual Binary Stars : Ephemeris (2008)". U.S. Naval Observatory. Archived from the original on 13 January 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
^N.L., de La Caillé (1976). Travels at the Cape, 1751–1753: an annotated translation of Journal historique du voyage fait au Cap de Bonne-Espérance. Translated by Raven-Hart, R. Cape Town. ISBN 978-0-86961-068-8.
^ abcKervella, Pierre; et al. (2016). "Close stellar conjunctions of α Centauri A and B until 2050 An mK = 7.8 star may enter the Einstein ring of α Cen A". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 594 (107): A107. arXiv:1610.06079. Bibcode:2016A&A...594A.107K. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201629201. S2CID 55865290.
^Marshall Eubanks, T.; Hein, Andreas M.; Lingam, Manasvi; Hibberd, Adam; Fries, Dan; Perakis, Nikolaos; Kennedy, Robert; Blase, W. P.; Schneider, Jean (2021). "Interstellar Objects in the Solar System: 1. Isotropic Kinematics from the Gaia Early Data Release 3". arXiv:2103.03289 [astro-ph.EP].
^ abHartung, E.J.; Frew, D.; Malin, D. (1994). Astronomical Objects for Southern Telescopes. Melbourne University Press. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-522-84553-2.
^Anglada-Escudé, Guillem; Amado, Pedro J.; Barnes, John; et al. (2016). "A terrestrial planet candidate in a temperate orbit around Proxima Centauri". Nature. 536 (7617): 437–440. arXiv:1609.03449. Bibcode:2016Natur.536..437A. doi:10.1038/nature19106. PMID27558064. S2CID 4451513.
^ abSuárez Mascareño, A.; Faria, J. P.; Figueira, P.; et al. (2020). "Revisiting Proxima with ESPRESSO". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 639: A77. arXiv:2005.12114. Bibcode:2020A&A...639A..77S. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/202037745. S2CID 218869742.
^Billings, Lee (12 April 2019). "A Second Planet May Orbit Earth's Nearest Neighboring Star". Scientific American. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
^Damasso, Mario; Del Sordo, Fabio; et al. (January 2020). "A low-mass planet candidate orbiting Proxima Centauri at a distance of 1.5 AU". Science Advances. 6 (3): eaax7467. Bibcode:2020SciA....6.7467D. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aax7467. PMC6962037. PMID31998838.
^Benedict, G. Fritz; McArthur, Barbara E. (June 2020). "A Moving Target—Revising the Mass of Proxima Centauri c". Research Notes of the AAS. 4 (6): 86. Bibcode:2020RNAAS...4...86B. doi:10.3847/2515-5172/ab9ca9.
^Gratton, Raffaele; Zurlo, Alice; Le Coroller, Hervé; et al. (June 2020). "Searching for the near-infrared counterpart of Proxima c using multi-epoch high-contrast SPHERE data at VLT". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 638: A120. arXiv:2004.06685. Bibcode:2020A&A...638A.120G. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/202037594. S2CID 215754278.
^Astronomers' hopes raised by glimpse of possible new planet
^Wagner, K.; Boehle, A.; et al. (10 February 2021). "Imaging low-mass planets within the habitable zone of α Centauri". Nature Communications. 12 (1): 922. arXiv:2102.05159. Bibcode:2021NatCo..12..922W. doi:10.1038/s41467-021-21176-6. PMC7876126. PMID33568657. Kevin Wagner's (lead author of paper?) video of discovery
^Wenz, John (29 October 2015). "It Turns Out the Closest Exoplanet to Us Doesn't Actually Exist". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
^"Poof! The Planet Closest To Our Solar System Just Vanished". National Geographic News. 29 October 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
^Rajpaul, Vinesh; Aigrain, Suzanne; Roberts, Stephen J. (19 October 2015), "Ghost in the time series: no planet for Alpha Cen B", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 456 (1): L6–L10, arXiv:1510.05598, Bibcode:2016MNRAS.456L...6R, doi:10.1093/mnrasl/slv164, S2CID 119294717.
^Demory, Brice-Olivier; et al. (June 2015). "Hubble Space Telescope search for the transit of the Earth-mass exoplanet Alpha Centauri Bb". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 450 (2): 2043–2051. arXiv:1503.07528. Bibcode:2015MNRAS.450.2043D. doi:10.1093/mnras/stv673. S2CID 119162954.
^Aron, Jacob. "Twin Earths may lurk in our nearest star system". New Scientist. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
^ ab"Why Haven't Planets Been Detected around Alpha Centauri". Universe Today. 19 April 2008. Archived from the original on 21 April 2008. Retrieved 19 April 2008.
^Stephens, Tim (7 March 2008). "Nearby star should harbor detectable, Earth-like planets". News & Events. UC Santa Cruz. Archived from the original on 17 April 2008. Retrieved 19 April 2008.
^Lissauer, J. J.; E. V. Quintana; J. E. Chambers; M. J. Duncan & F. C. Adams (2004). "Terrestrial Planet Formation in Binary Star Systems". Revista Mexicana de Astronomía y Astrofísica, Serie de Conferencias. 22: 99–103. arXiv:0705.3444. Bibcode:2004RMxAC..22...99L.
^Quintana, Elisa V.; Lissauer, Jack J. (2007). Haghighipour, Nader (ed.). Terrestrial Planet Formation in Binary Star Systems. Planets in Binary Star Systems. Springer. pp. 265–284. ISBN 978-90-481-8687-7.
^ abcCroswell, Ken (April 1991). "Does Alpha Centauri Have Intelligent Life?". Astronomy. Vol. 19 no. 4. pp. 28–37. Bibcode:1991Ast....19d..28C.
^Gilster, Paul (5 July 2006). "Proxima Centauri and Habitability". Centauri Dreams. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
^ abKaltenegger, Lisa; Haghighipour, Nader (2013). "Calculating the Habitable Zone of Binary Star Systems. I. S-Type Binaries". The Astrophysical Journal. 777 (2): 165. arXiv:1306.2889. Bibcode:2013ApJ...777..165K. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/777/2/165. S2CID 118414142.
^Mullen, Leslie (2 June 2011). "Rage Against the Dying of the Light". Astrobiology Magazine. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
^ abcdWiegert, J.; Liseau, R.; Thébault, P.; et al. (March 2014). "How dusty is α Centauri? Excess or non-excess over the infrared photospheres of main-sequence stars". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 563. A102. arXiv:1401.6896. Bibcode:2014A&A...563A.102W. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201321887. S2CID 119198201.
^Martin Rees (17 September 2012). Universe: The Definitive Visual Guide. DK Publishing. p. 252. ISBN 978-1-4654-1114-3.
^James B. Kaler (7 May 2006). The Hundred Greatest Stars. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-387-21625-6.
^Fred Schaaf (31 March 2008). The Brightest Stars: Discovering the Universe through the Sky's Most Brilliant Stars. Wiley. p. 122. Bibcode:2008bsdu.book.....S. ISBN 978-0-470-24917-8.
^Baily, Francis (1843). "The Catalogues of Ptolemy, Ulugh Beigh, Tycho Brahe, Halley, Hevelius, Deduced from the Best Authorities. With Various Notes and Corrections, and a Preface to Each Catalogue. To Which is Added the Synonym of each Star, in the Catalogues or Flamsteed of Lacaille, as far as the same can be ascertained". Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society. 13: 1. Bibcode:1843MmRAS..13....1B.
^Kunitzsch, P. (1976). "Naturwissenschaft und Philologie: Die arabischen Elemente in der Nomenklatur und Terminologie der Himmelskunde". Die Sterne. 52: 218. Bibcode:1976Stern..52..218K. doi:10.1515/islm.1918.104.22.1683. S2CID 162297139.
^Hermelink, H.; Kunitzsch, Paul (1961). "Reviewed work: Arabische Sternnamen in Europa, Paul Kunitzsch". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 81 (3): 309–312. doi:10.2307/595661. JSTOR 595661.
^Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-Fargānī; Jakob Golius (1669). Muhammedis fil. Ketiri Ferganensis, qui vulgo Alfraganus dicitur, Elementa astronomica, Arabicè & Latinè. Cum notis ad res exoticas sive Orientales, quae in iis occurrunt. Opera Jacobi Golii. apud Johannem Jansonium à Waasberge, & viduam Elizei Weyerstraet. pp. 76–.
^Elijah Hinsdale Burritt (1850). Atlas: Designed to Illustrate the Geography of the Heavens. F. J. Huntington.
^(in Chinese) [ AEEA (Activities of Exhibition and Education in Astronomy) 天文教育資訊網 2006 年 6 月 27 日]
^ abHamacher, Duane W.; Frew, David J. (2010). "An Aboriginal Australian Record of the Great Eruption of Eta Carinae". Journal of Astronomical History & Heritage. 13 (3): 220–234. arXiv:1010.4610. Bibcode:2010JAHH...13..220H.
^Stanbridge, W. M. (1857). "On the Astronomy and Mythology of the Aboriginies of Victoria". Transactions Philosophical Institute Victoria. 2: 137–140.
^O'Neill, Ian (8 July 2008). "How Long Would it Take to Travel to the Nearest Star?". Universe Today.
^Domonoske, Camila (12 April 2016). "Forget Starships: New Proposal Would Use 'Starchips' To Visit Alpha Centauri". NPR. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
^ ab"Starshot". Breakthrough Initiatives. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
^Overbye, Dennis (12 April 2016). "Reaching for the Stars, Across 4.37 Light-Years". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
^Chang, Kenneth (24 August 2016). "One Star Over, a Planet That Might Be Another Earth". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
^"VLT to Search for Planets in Alpha Centauri System – ESO Signs Agreement with Breakthrough Initiatives". European Southern Observatory. 9 January 2017. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
^Klesman, Alison (9 January 2017). "ESO and the Breakthrough Initiatives team up to search for extrasolar planets next door". Astronomy Magazine. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
^Henderson, T. (1842). "The Parallax of α Centauri, deduced from Mr. Maclear's Observations at the Cape of Good Hope, in the Years 1839 and 1840". Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society. 12: 370–371. Bibcode:1842MmRAS..12..329H.
^Maclear, T. (1851). "Determination of the Parallax of α 1 and α2 Centauri, from Observations made at the Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope, in the Years 1842-3-4 and 1848". Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society. 20: 98. Bibcode:1851MmRAS..20...70M.
^Moesta, C. G. (1868). "Bestimmung der Parallaxe von α und β Centauri" [Determining the parallax of α and β Centauri]. Astronomische Nachrichten (in German). 71 (8): 117–118. Bibcode:1868AN.....71..113M. doi:10.1002/asna.18680710802.
^Gill, David; Elkin, W.L. (1885). "Heliometer-Determinations of Stellar Parallax in the Southern Hemisphere". Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society. 48: 188. Bibcode:1885MmRAS..48....1G.
^Roberts, Alex W. (1895). "Parallax of α Centauri from Meridian Observations 1879–1881". Astronomische Nachrichten. 139 (12): 189–190. Bibcode:1895AN....139..177R. doi:10.1002/asna.18961391202.
^Woolley, R.; Epps, E. A.; Penston, M. J.; Pocock, S. B. (1970). "Woolley 559". Catalogue of Stars within 25 Parsecs of the Sun. 5: ill. Bibcode:1970ROAn....5.....W. Archived from the original on 8 October 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
^Gliese, W.; Jahreiß, H. (1991). "Gl 559". Preliminary Version of the Third Catalogue of Nearby Stars. Astronomische Rechen-Institut. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
^Van Altena, W. F.; Lee, J. T.; Hoffleit, E. D. (1995). "GCTP 3309". The General Catalogue of Trigonometric Stellar Parallaxes (Fourth ed.). Yale University Observatory. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
^Perryman; et al. (1997). "HIP 71683". The Hipparcos and Tycho Catalogues. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
^Perryman; et al. (1997). "HIP 71683". The Hipparcos and Tycho Catalogues. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
^Perryman; et al. (1997). "HIP 71681". The Hipparcos and Tycho Catalogues. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
^Perryman; et al. (1997). "HIP 71681". The Hipparcos and Tycho Catalogues. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
^Söderhjelm, Staffan (1999). "HIP 71683". Visual binary orbits and masses post Hipparcos. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
^van Leeuwen, Floor (2007). "HIP 71683". Validation of the new Hipparcos reduction.
^van Leeuwen, Floor (2007). "HIP 71681". Validation of the new Hipparcos reduction.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alpha Centauri.
SIMBAD observational data
Sixth Catalogue of Orbits of Visual Binary Stars U.S.N.O.
The Imperial Star – Alpha Centauri
Alpha Centauri – A Voyage to Alpha Centauri
Immediate History of Alpha Centauri
eSky : Alpha Centauri
Hypothetical planets or exploration
"A Family Portrait of the Alpha Centauri System". European Southern Observatory Press Release: 5. 2003. Bibcode:2003eso..pres....5. Retrieved 21 March 2003.
Alpha Centauri System
O Sistema Alpha Centauri (Portuguese)
Alpha Centauri – Associação de Astronomia (Portuguese)
Thompson, Andrea (7 March 2008). "Nearest Star System Might Harbor Earth Twin". SPACE.com. Archived from the original on 2 June 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2008.