P roxima is the nearest star to the Sun. It is a dim red dwarf, smaller than our Sun and a great deal fainter. Here we see it from a hypothetical orbiting planet. To the right you can also make out Alpha Centauri, which is a binary star with two Sun-like components. The Alpha Centauri pair orbit each other quite closely, while Proxima orbits this pair much further out, forming a triple star system. I have exaggerated the brightness of the close binary pair for artistic reasons. Appears on the cover of the May 2003 edition of Asimov's Science Fiction.
Category: Stars & Nebulae, Exoplanets