|Date:||18.8.2004||Time:||20:05 UT||Exposure:||30 min|
|Field:||6.8o x 4.5o||Emulsion:||Kodak E200||Filter:||none|
|Optics:||f=300mm, 1/4.5||Place:||Hakos, Namibia||Observer:||Till Credner|
© Copyright by the observers
Alpha Centauri, also called Toliman or Rigil Kentaurus, is the bright white
star with 0.3 mag on the left hand side. This triple stellar system
contains the closest known stars to our sun. The two main components
alpha Centauri A and B (not Beta!) are currently separated by about
15" and can therefore be observed as a double star with a small
telescope. In the above wide field photography both stars are hidden
in their common glare.
The third star Alpha Centauri C however lies at a distance of about 2 degrees from Toliman. It is actually the closest of the three stars with 4.22 light years to our sun and is therefore called Proxima Centauri. It is a weak M-type red dwarf shining only at 11 mag in the sky. Proxima is gravitationally weakly bound to A and B in a distance of 0.2 lightyears. It takes about a million years for a complete orbit (if it orbits at all).
Jim Kaler on Alpha Cen
Chandra and XMM X-ray observations
ESO interferometry measures stellar diameters of Alpha Cen A and B