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If we look to Centaurus, a constellation in southern sky we will find this closest to star or technically not the single closest but rather 3 stars that are extremely close together which as a whole, represent the system that is closest to our sun. This triple star system is called the Alpha Centauri star system. The closest to these stars is called Proxima Centauri, named as such because of its proximity and this star is almost certainly gravitationally bound to the other two, which are called Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B, which together form a binary pair. They are almost 4.3 light-years away from Earth. The third star is the faintest component of this triple star system, Proxima Centauri, this dim red dwarf is around 4.22 light-years from Earth and It is the closest star to Earth after sun.
After every 80 years, Alpha Centauri A and B complete an orbit of a common center of gravity. The average distance between these stars is a little more than the distance between the sun and Uranus, however, Proxima Centauri is about one-fifth of a light year from the two other stars. Due to this location of Proxima Centauri, some astronomers think whether it should be considered part of the Alpha Centauri Star system. In several million years, Proxima Centauri might be passing through the system while leaving the locality. Another chance is that it may get gravitationally bound to the binary pair, and if it gets bound its orbital time period around the other two stars will become 500,000 years.
Voyager 1 was launched on September 05, 1977 for an interstellar mission. If it were to travel to Proxima Centauri, at a rate of 17.3 km/s (at which it is travelling away from the sun) it would take around 73,000 years to arrive on Proxima Centauri. However, if it could travel with the speed of light, it would still take over 4.22 years to reach Proxima Centauri. Still, Proxima Centauri star is the closest known star to our Earth and Sun as it is trillion kilometers closer as compared to the other stars of Alpha Centauri system.
Alpha Centauri A and B as Compared to Sun
In comparison with our sun, the surface temperature of Alpha Centauri A’s surface is a few degrees Kelvin less. Nonetheless, the diameter of Centauri A is greater giving it a larger surface area for 1.6 times more luminosity than our sun.
Alpha Centauri B is the smaller member of the triple star system, it is slightly smaller than our sun. It is also low in temperature and has half the luminosity of the sun. This is why Alpha Centauri B shines on its own and it is the 21stbrightest star in our night sky.
Astronomers Discovered Alien signals from Proxima Centauri
A mysterious radio signal was detected by the scientists in December 2020. According to the analysis done so far, it is believed that the signal was coming from Proxima Centauri, it has been labeled as Breakthrough Listen Candidate 1 (BLC-1). This is a narrow band signal at a frequency of 982.002 MHz and it showed up after a radio telescope (Parkes Observatory in Australia) was aimed at Proxima Centauri star. BLC-1 lasted for several hours and when the telescope pointed in a different direction the signal vanished. The signal also drifted in different frequencies that showed its origin from a moving planet. Scientists are still trying to solve this mystery as the signal has not been detected again.