August 25, 2016

Milky Way, Alpha Centauri AB and Proxima Centauri seen over La Silla Observatory

Milky Way, Alpha Centauri AB and Proxima Centauri seen over La Silla Observatory

Our magnificent Milky Way galaxy is radiant over La Silla Observatory. The ESO 3.6-metre telescope is shown to the right, now home to the world's foremost extrasolar planet hunter: High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS), a spectrograph with unrivalled precision.

Image Credit: ESO/B. Tafreshi

The sky around Alpha Centauri and Proxima Centauri

The sky around Alpha Centauri and Proxima Centauri

This image of the sky around the bright star Alpha Centauri AB also shows the much fainter red dwarf star, Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System. The picture was created from pictures forming part of the Digitized Sky Survey 2. The blue halo around Alpha Centauri AB is an artifact of the photographic process, the star is really pale yellow in colour like the Sun.

Proxima Centauri appears as a faint red star towards the lower-right of the picture.

Image Credit: Digitized Sky Survey 2, Davide De Martin/Mahdi Zamani

Milky Way & Alpha Centauri

Milky Way & Alpha Centauri

This wide-field image shows the Milky Way stretching across the southern sky. The beautiful Carina Nebula (NGC 3372) is seen at the right of the image glowing in red. It is within this spiral arm of our Milky Way that the bright star cluster NGC 3603 resides. At the centre of the image is the constellation of Crux (The Southern Cross). The bright yellow/white star at the left of the image is Alpha Centauri, in fact a system of three stars, at a distance of about 4.4 light-years from Earth. The star Alpha Centauri C, Proxima Centauri, is the closest star to the Solar System.

Image Credit: A. Fujii