Up close with our nearest star system neighbour

Hubble friday 09022016

Appearing like the high beams of an oncoming car, this is the best image that the Hubble Space Telescope has produced of the binary star system.

Due to their relative proximity (4.3 light-years) to Earth, the star system is among the best studied by astronomers. This particular image was captured by Hubble’s Wide-Field and Planetary Camera 2 in optical and near-infrared wavelengths.

Also in the image, though harder to spot, is the red dwarf Alpha Centauri C, known as Proxima Centauri, which was recently observed to have an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone.

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