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Alpha Centauri

noun
1.
Astronomy. a triple-star system that is the brightest celestial object in the constellation Centaurus.
Also called Rigel Kentaurus.
Origin
< Neo-Latin: Alpha of Centaurus
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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alpha cent-auri in Science
Alpha Centauri
  (āl'fə sěn-tôr'ē)   
A triple star system in the constellation Centaurus that is the third brightest star in the night sky, with an apparent magnitude of -0.27, and the star nearest to Earth, at a distance of about 4.2 light-years. The two brighter stars, Alpha Centauri A and B, form a binary star system, which is orbited by Proxima Centauri, a smaller, dimmer star.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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