All you ever wanted to know about Proxima Centauri
The nearest star to Earth (other than the Sun, of course) is not one of the bright, famous stars we can spot in the night sky. That star is Proxima Centauri, in the constellation of Centaurus; the “Proxima” name derives from the same root as “proximity”. It’s a part of the star system that includes Alpha Centauri. Despite the fact that Alpha Centauri is one of the brightest stars in the southern sky (well, it’s a binary star, though we can’t tell that without binoculars), Proxima Centauri is too faint to see without a telescope. That’s why it escaped discovery until 1915.
Proxima Centauri is actually a pretty common variety of star known known as an M dwarf, a subgroup of the red dwarfs. As their name suggests, these stars are much smaller in mass and size than the Sun, so even though they are common, they…
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