Alpha Centauri (α Cen) is the closest star system to the Solar System at a distance of 4.37 light-years (1.34 pc). It consists of three stars: the pair Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B and a small and faint red dwarf, Proxima Centauri, that may be gravitationally bound to the other two. To the unaided eye, the two main components appear as a single object of an apparent visual magnitude of −0.27, forming the brightest star in the southern constellation Centaurus and the third-brightest star in the night sky, outshone only by Sirius and Canopus.
Alpha Centauri A (α Cen A) has 110 percent of the mass and 151.9 percent of the luminosity of the Sun, and Alpha Centauri B (α Cen B) is smaller and cooler, at 90.7 percent of the Sun's mass and 44.5 percent of its visual luminosity. During the pair's 79.91-year orbit about a common centre, the distance between them varies from about that between Pluto and the Sun to that between Saturn and the Sun.
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