The transit event could correspond to a planetary body with a radius around 0.92 R⊕. It has a minimum mass of 1.17 M⊕ (Earth masses) and orbits approximately 0.049 AU from Proxima Centauri, placing it in the star's habitable zone. Image: Wikimedia Commons/Skatebiker (CC BY-SA 3.0). -0.27), Hadar (Beta Cen, mag. Proxima Centauri has two planets: Proxima b, an Earth-sized exoplanet in the habitable zone discovered in 2016; and Proxima c, a ringed super-Earth 1.5 AU away, discovered in 2019. Alpha Centauri A is about 10 percent more massive than the Sun,[7] with a radius about 22 percent larger. To the naked eye, Alpha Centauri AB appears to be a single star, the brightest in the southern constellation of Centaurus. All three components of the Alpha Centauri system have formal names. With the placement of the Sun east of the magnitude 3.4 star Epsilon Cassiopeiae, nearly in front of the Heart Nebula, the "W" line of stars of Cassiopeia would have a "/W" shape. They form the Alpha Centauri AB binary system, which appears as a single star to the naked eye. The below image shows this star system and other objects near it in the sky. Image: ESA/NASA (CC BY 2.0). c = 3.00 X 10 8 m/s 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 two bright stars, called Alpha Centauri A and B form a close binary system; they are separated by only 23 times the Earth - Sun distance. [21], Alpha Centauri C was discovered in 1915 by Robert T. A. Innes,[23] who suggested that it be named Proxima Centaurus,[24] from Latin 'the nearest [star] of Centaurus'. [22], A third name that has been applied is Bungula (/ˈbʌŋɡjuːlə/), of obscure origin. The southern luminaries Alpha Centauri, Canopus and Achernar were largely unknown to European observers until the English geographer, mathematician and explorer Robert Hues published his work Tractatus de globis et eorum usu (Treatise on Globes and Their Use) in 1594. It is traveling away from the Sun at a rate of 17.3 km/s. Since the naked eye can only resolve stars that are 60 or more arcseconds apart, the AB binary always appears as a single star. Alpha Centauri C is about 13,000 AU away from Alpha Centauri AB. [45] Alpha Centauri B has an apparent magnitude of +1.35, slightly dimmer than Mimosa.[15]. [52] The star culminates each year at local midnight on 24 April and at local 9 p.m. on 8 June. In the 1830s, Thomas Henderson discovered the true distance to Alpha Centauri by analysing his many astrometric mural circle observations. [76], To be in the habitable zone, a planet around Alpha Centauri A would have an orbital radius of between about 1 and 2 AU so as to have similar planetary temperatures and conditions for liquid water to exist. The system has a mean radial velocity of about 22.4 km/s in the direction of the Sun. [121][123], In January 2017, Breakthrough Initiatives and the ESO entered a collaboration to search for habitable planets in the Alpha Centauri system. Alpha Centauri A and B are Sun-like stars (Class G and K), and together they form the binary star Alpha Centauri AB. It lies 2.18 degrees southwest of the bright AB binary. If Earth were the size of a sand grain, this distance would be about the width of a hair in contrast to a 6-mile (10-km) distance to Alpha Centauri. [64] Since the early 20th century, measures have been made with photographic plates.

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