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Among the known stars, Proxima Centauri has been the closest star to the Sun for about 32,000 years and will be so for about another 25,000 years, after which Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B will alternate approximately every 79.91 years as the closest star to the Sun. In 2001, J. García-Sánchez et al. predicted that Proxima Centauri will make its closest approach to the Sun in approximately 26,700 years, coming within 3.11 ly (0.95 pc).[52] A 2010 study by V. V. Bobylev predicted a closest approach distance of 2.90 ly (0.89 pc) in about 27,400 years,[53] followed by a 2014 study by C. A. L. Bailer-Jones predicting a perihelion approach of 3.07 ly (0.94 pc) in roughly 26,710 years.[54] Proxima Centauri is orbiting through the Milky Way at a distance from the Galactic Centre that varies from 27 to 31 kly (8.3 to 9.5 kpc), with an orbital eccentricity of 0.07.[55]


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Proxima Centauri b, or Alpha Centauri Cb, orbits the star at a distance of roughly 0.05 AU (7.5 million km) with an orbital period of approximately 11.2 Earth days. Its estimated mass is at least 1.17 times that of the Earth.[71] Moreover, the equilibrium temperature of Proxima Centauri b is estimated to be within the range where water could exist as liquid on its surface; thus, placing it within the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri.[57][72][73]

In 2016, a superflare was observed from Proxima Centauri, the strongest flare ever seen. The optical brightness increased by a factor of 68 to approximately magnitude 6.8. It is estimated that similar flares occur around five times every year but are of such short duration, just a few minutes, that they have never been observed before.[19] On 2020 April 22 and 23, the New Horizons spacecraft took images of two of the nearest stars, Proxima Centauri and Wolf 359. When compared with Earth-based images, a very large parallax effect was easily visible. However, this was only used for illustrative purposes and did not improve on previous distance measurements.[107][108]

On March 18 in 2016, this tiny red dwarf emitted an energy belch of 1033.5 erg. The flare consisted of one major event and three weaker ones and lasted approximately one hour, during which time Proxima Centauri became 68 times brighter.

In 2016, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) announced the discovery of Proxima b, a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri at a distance of roughly 4.7 million miles (7.5 million km) with an orbital period of approximately 11.2 Earth days. Its estimated mass is at least 1.3 times that of the Earth.

Proxima Centauri, also known as Alpha Centauri C or Proxima, was a star in the Alpha Centauri trinary system. It was the closest star to Sol, located approximately four light years away. The star was located in the Alpha Quadrant. (TNG: "The Naked Now", "The Last Outpost", production art) 041b061a72


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