Stephen Hawking , Yuri Milner and Mark Zuckerber are in charge of heading a board whose purpose is a new initiative known as “Breakthrough Starshot” , whose technology could one day be used to reach the neighboring star of the Earth, Alpha Centauri . In addition to being a relatively “easy” target because it is among the closest stars to the sun, astronomers have been watching our stellar neighbors for possible Earth-like planets. Alpha Centauri is our neighboring star , but when we talk about space, there are no close distances. It is more than 4 light years distant, that is, 25 trillion miles. And the problem is that space travel as we know it is quite slow. If humanity’s fastest-moving spacecraft, Voyager had left our planet when humans first left Africa, traveling at 11 miles per second, it would reach Alpha Centauri at this time.
- Constellation: Centaur
- Distance to Earth: 4.37 light years
What is Alpha Centauri?
It is the star that is located closest to the sun and is visible only in the southern hemisphere. It is the third brightest star on the planet and is composed of several stars that together look like a point of light.
Alpha Centauri System:
The closest stellar neighbors to the sun are three stars found in the Alpha Centauri system . The two main stars are Alpha Centauri A and B , which form a binary pair . They are an average of 4.3 light years from Earth. The third star is Proxima Centauri . Alpha Centauri A and B are found orbiting a common center of gravity every 80 years. The average distance between them is approximately 11 astronomical units (AU or AU), approximately the same distance that we find between the sun and Uranus.. Proxima Centauri is about a fifth of a light-year or 13,000 AU from the other two stars, a distance that makes some astronomers wonder if it should be considered part of the same system. Alpha Centauri A appears as the fourth brightest star seen from Earth, however, the combined light of Alpha Centauri A and B is slightly higher so in that sense it appears as the third brightest star visible in Earth’s sky. . The yellow star Alpha Centauri A is of the same stellar type as our sun , although slightly larger. It looks bright in our sky due to its close proximity to Earth. the temperatureof its surface it is a few degrees Kelvin smaller than our sun, but its diameter is greater and the larger total surface gives it a luminosity almost 1.6 times greater than the sun. The smallest member of the system, the orange Alpha Centauri B, is slightly smaller than our sun, with a spectral type of K2. With a lower temperature and only half the luminosity of the sun, Alpha Centauri B would shine on its own as the 21st brightest star in our sky. These two are the brightest components in the system and orbit around a common center of gravity every 80 years. The orbit is remarkably elliptical, and have an average distance between the two stars of about 11 Astronomical Units or Earth-Sun distances.
This star system is one of the closest to the Sun , approximately 4.37 light years away, which is the same as 41.3 billion kilometers away.
The stars that make up Alpha Centauri are three:
- Proxima Centauri : This star burns its fuel at a much slower rate and therefore can exist much longer. In August 2016, it was announced that an Earth-sized planet had been discovered orbiting the habitable zone around Proxima Centauri, the planet named Proxima b. The star Proxima Centauri was discovered in 1915 by Scottish astronomer Robert Innes .
- Alpha Centauri A : It is a K-type orange star that belongs to a binary system . It is bright, large, and is considered older than the sun. It is classified as a yellow dwarf star . It has a rotation of 22 days.
- Alpha Centauri B : It is a star very similar to our major star, the sun , of spectral type G and that rotates in an orbit of about 80 years. He is considered to have been born at the same time as Alpha Centauri A.
Alpha Centauri planets:
The scientists and astronomers have found different tests that could prove that there are planets twins to land on Alpha Centauri . These findings are closely related to the exoplanet Alpha Centauri Bb, which was discovered in 2012. This planet has characteristics similar to Earth. The existence of the exoplanet tells us that there must be more planets orbiting in the same system.