Scientists Say: Proxima Centauri

This is our nearest stellar neighbor

Proxima centauri

This is Proxima Centauri, the star closest to our sun. Its red glow marks it as a red dwarf.

ESA/Hubble & NASA

Proxima Centauri (noun, “PROX-ih-mah sen-TOR-aye”)

This is a star located about 4.2 light-years away from our sun. Its name is composed of Latin words. They mean “nearest star of Centaurus.” (Proxima Centauri is part of the Centaurus constellation.) It’s the nearest-known star to the sun. But it’s a different type of star. Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf — a small, red glowing star that is about 2,800 degrees Celsius (5,000 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than our sun.


In a sentence

Scientists recently found that a planet may be orbiting Proxima Centauri — making it the closest planet outside our solar system.

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Bethany Brookshire was a longtime staff writer at Science News Explores and is the author of the book Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains. She has a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology and likes to write about neuroscience, biology, climate and more. She thinks Porgs are an invasive species.

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