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Object description
Alpha Centauri and some interstellar objects

Object description:

Alpha Centauri

Brilliantly and brightly shines on our image the near-sun star alpha Centauri, which is also called Rigil Kentaurus or Toliman. The field of view was chosen so that the image also shows 3 open star clusters NGC 5617, Pismis 19, Trumpler 22) and a planetary nebula (He-211 or PK 315.0-00.3).

Alpha Centauri is a physical double star (Centauri A+B) and after Proxima Centauri (Centauri C) the closest fixed star to the Sun. Alpha Centauri consists of the brighter yellow star Alpha Centauri A and the orange colored Alpha Centauri B. The apparent separation of both stars is currently just under 6 arc seconds and the distance to the Sun is 4.34 light years. The orbital period of both stars around their common center of gravity is just under 80 years.

Alpha Centauri A is of the same spectral type (G2 V) and has similar physical dimensions as the Sun and it is considered the closest "solar twin" to Earth. Alpha Centauri B is of spectral type K1 and is slightly smaller than our Sun and also a bit cooler. Both stars are with an estimated age of about 6.5 billion years significantly older than our Sun.

« Click here the thumbnail to load a large annoted image.
Images, proper motion and information about Proxima Centauri are shown here.

Images and information about the 3 open star clusters and the planetary nebula are shown here.

»  Older "Lucky Imaging" image of Alpha Centauri A + B by us, taken in the primary focus of the Celestron 14. Unfortunately, further image information is no longer available.

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All Images and all Content are © by Franz Hofmann + Wolfgang Paech