A report on Alpha Centauri

Alpha Centauri is the brightest object in the constellation of Centaurus (top left).
Apparent and true orbits of Alpha Centauri. The A component is held stationary, and the relative orbital motion of the B component is shown. The apparent orbit (thin ellipse) is the shape of the orbit as seen by an observer on Earth. The true orbit is the shape of the orbit viewed perpendicular to the plane of the orbital motion. According to the radial velocity versus time, the radial separation of A and B along the line of sight had reached a maximum in 2007, with B being further from Earth than A. The orbit is divided here into 80 points: each step refers to a timestep of approx. 0.99888 years or 364.84 days.
The relative sizes and colours of stars in the Alpha Centauri system, compared to the Sun
Relative positions of Sun, Alpha Centauri AB and Proxima Centauri. Grey dot is projection of Proxima Centauri, located at the same distance as Alpha Centauri AB.
The two bright stars at the lower right are Alpha (right) and Beta Centauri (left, above antenna). A line drawn through them points to the four bright stars of the Southern Cross, just to the right of the dome of the Danish 1.54 m telescope at La Silla Observatory in Chile.
Alpha Centauri AB taken in daylight by holding a Canon Powershot S100 in line with the eyepiece of a 110-mm refractor. The photo is one of the best frames of a video. The double star is clearly visible.
View of Alpha Centauri from the Digitized Sky Survey-2
Alpha Centauri A is of the same stellar type G2 as the Sun, while Alpha Centauri B is a K1-type star.
Closest stars to the Sun
Distances of the nearest stars from 20,000 years ago until 80,000 years in the future
Animation showing motion of Alpha Centauri through the sky. (The other stars are held fixed for didactic reasons) "Oggi" means today. "Anni" means years.
The discovery image of Alpha Centauri's candidate Neptunian planet, marked here as "C1".
Looking towards the sky around Orion from Alpha Centauri with Sirius near Betelgeuse, Procyon in Gemini, and the Sun in Cassiopeia generated by Celestia.
Simulated night-sky image with a "W" of stars from Cassiopeia connected by lines, and the Sun, labeled "Sol", as it would appear to the left of the "W"
The Very Large Telescope and Alpha Centauri

Gravitationally bound system of the closest stars and planets to the Solar System at 4.37 light-years from the Sun.

- Alpha Centauri
Alpha Centauri is the brightest object in the constellation of Centaurus (top left).

43 related topics with Alpha

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Cassiopeia in her chair, as depicted in Urania's Mirror

Cassiopeia (constellation)

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Constellation in the northern sky named after the vain queen Cassiopeia, mother of Andromeda, in Greek mythology, who boasted about her unrivaled beauty.

Constellation in the northern sky named after the vain queen Cassiopeia, mother of Andromeda, in Greek mythology, who boasted about her unrivaled beauty.

Cassiopeia in her chair, as depicted in Urania's Mirror
Cassiopeia in the night sky
The constellation Cassiopeia as it can be seen by the naked eye from a northern location
Kappa Cassiopeiae and its bow shock. Spitzer infrared image (NASA/JPL-Caltech)
The Sun would appear close to Cassiopeia from Alpha Centauri
Planetary nebula IC 289 is a cloud of ionised gas being pushed out into space by the remnants of the star's core
Sky image centered in Cassiopeia taken from a dark site. Some deep sky objects are visible, including the Andromeda Galaxy.
Astrophoto of Cassiopeia
Cassiopeia with indication of χ Persei (NGC 884) and h Persei (NGC 869) as well as the star clusters NGC 654, NGC 663, NGC 581 (Messier 103), NGC 457, NGC 225, NGC 7788, NGC 7790, NGC 7789 and NGC 7654 (Messier 52).

If the Earth's Sun could be observed from α Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System, it would be visible in Cassiopeia as a yellow-white 0.5 magnitude star, far brighter than any of the other stars of the constellation.

Concept graphic of a fusion-driven rocket powered spacecraft arriving at Mars

Nuclear pulse propulsion

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Hypothetical method of spacecraft propulsion that uses nuclear explosions for thrust.

Hypothetical method of spacecraft propulsion that uses nuclear explosions for thrust.

Concept graphic of a fusion-driven rocket powered spacecraft arriving at Mars
An artist's conception of the Project Orion "basic" spacecraft, powered by nuclear pulse propulsion.
A nuclear pulse propulsion unit. The explosive charge ablatively vaporizes the propellant, propelling it away from the charge, and simultaneously creating a plasma out of the propellant. The propellant then goes on to impact the pusher plate at the bottom of the Orion spacecraft, imparting a pulse of 'pushing' energy.
Conceptual diagram of a Medusa propulsion spacecraft, showing: (A) the payload capsule, (B) the winch mechanism, (C) the optional main tether cable, (D) riser tethers, and (E) the parachute mechanism.
Operating sequence of the Medusa propulsion system. This diagram shows the operating sequence of a Medusa propulsion spacecraft (1) Starting at moment of explosive-pulse unit firing, (2) As the explosive pulse reaches the parachute canopy, (3) Pushes the canopy, accelerating it away from the explosion as the spacecraft plays out the main tether with the winch, generating electricity as it extends, and accelerating the spacecraft, (4) And finally winches the spacecraft forward to the canopy and uses excess electricity for other purposes.

The added weight of the reactor reduced performance somewhat, but even using LiD fuel it would be able to reach neighboring star Alpha Centauri in 100 years (approx.

IKAROS space-probe with solar sail in flight (artist's depiction) showing a typical square sail configuration

Solar sail

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Solar sails (also known as light sails and photon sails) are a method of spacecraft propulsion using radiation pressure exerted by sunlight on large mirrors.

Solar sails (also known as light sails and photon sails) are a method of spacecraft propulsion using radiation pressure exerted by sunlight on large mirrors.

IKAROS space-probe with solar sail in flight (artist's depiction) showing a typical square sail configuration
Force on a sail results from reflecting the photon flux
NASA illustration of the unlit side of a half-kilometre solar sail, showing the struts stretching the sail.
An artist's depiction of a Cosmos 1-type spaceship in orbit
Proposed material for the construction of solar sails - carbon fiber.
A solar sail can spiral inward or outward by setting the sail angle
The model of IKAROS at the 61st International Astronautical Congress in 2010
A photo of the experimental solar sail, NanoSail-D.
NEA Scout concept: a controllable CubeSat solar sail spacecraft

The well-funded Breakthrough Starshot project announced on April 12, 2016, aims to develop a fleet of 1000 light sail nanocraft carrying miniature cameras, propelled by ground-based lasers and send them to Alpha Centauri at 20% the speed of light.