Sunday, 9 October 2016

Alpha Centauri: The closest Star System to the Sun


We all know about Sun and our solar system that it has eight planets, one star and many other bodies like comets and asteroids and we also know that our universe is a lot bigger than our imagination and there are trillions of galaxies in our universe.

 If there are so many galaxies then they must have billions of stars in them and those stars must have planets or rocky bodies around them just like our solar system and answer to this is simple hell yeah there are many stars and planets just like our solar system. So question here is what’s the closest star to our Sun? After long time of search, astronomers have found the answer to this question is "Alpha Centauri (also known as Rigel Kentaurus)".

Alpha Centauri is the closest star system to our Sun. When this system was observed, astronomers thought that this is a single star system like ours but soon they realized that its high luminosity is because of two stars. It’s a binary star system. If you try to look at Alpha Centauri with naked eye then you may say it’s just one star but if you try looking at it with telescope then you will find another star and with more advanced equipment you will see that there are three of them. The main components are Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B. Proxima Centauri, is believed to be about 4.22 light-years away and it is essentially our sun’s nearby neighbor among trillions of other stars. Is Proxima Centauri part of the Alpha Centauri star system? The real position of Proxima Centauri as a star member of Alpha Centauri system is uncertain.

If you look through a small telescope at the Alpha Centauri system, you will see the two main stars, but you will find it very hard to see Proxima Centauri. It’s too weak and appears too far (4 diameters of the full moon) away to be easily recognized at part of the system. But most of the astronomers think it’s a triple star system including Proxima Centauri. This system is about 4.3 light-years away from Earth. The two stars Alpha Centauri A and B spin around each other. This appearance of this system as a triple star system does not makes it important for us but the most amazing thing about this star system is that astronomers have found a planet close to Earth's mass around one of these stars Called Alpha Centauri Bb, the planet orbits its star about every 3.2 days, at 3.6 million miles (6 million kilometers) away.

On 16 October 2012, researchers, mainly from the Observatory of Geneva declared that an Earth-mass planet had been spotted in orbit around Alpha Centauri B. They detected this planet by using the radial velocity technique. Whenever we will try to cross the boundary of our solar system than our first target will most probably be Alpha Centauri Bb.  Is there any life on that planet? This question is still under debate and to answer this we first have to observe this planet more closely. Astronomers are confident that there could more planets in this star system.

This matter of Alpha Centauri star system is still open for debate also. More study is required to fully reveal the secrets of this strange star system. Alpha Centauri is most of the times also known as Rigel Kentaurus.

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