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Our solar system is moving at approx. 52,000 mph, so where is the Alpha Centauri system, which is assumed to be also moving through interstellar space at a similar velocity since it is part of our Galaxy. Is the A. Centauri system moving in front of us at 12 o’clock, parallel to us at 3 o’clock, or some other configuration?

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If you were looking down on the galaxy from above with 12 o'clock pointing from the Sun to the Galactic center, then using SIMBAD we can get the galactic co-ordinates as approx (315,-0.6) in longitude, latitude respectively. Longitude is measured anti-clockwise from the line from the Sun to the galactic center, so Alpha Cen would be approximately between 1 and 2 o'clock. ESO have a map here showing the nearby stars within 12.5 light years.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. Very helpful. Now, please also help with the direction of movement of our Galaxy? If we stay with the perspective of looking down on the Galaxy; and the line from the Sun to the Galactic center is 12 o’clock; to what hour on the clock are we moving? [gizmodo.com/… $\endgroup$ – Geoffrey Howe Jul 31 '18 at 4:01
  • $\begingroup$ I think this already has an answer here $\endgroup$ – astrosnapper Jul 31 '18 at 16:09
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. And to reach the goal of my inquiry, my last question is, “Do we know where on a 2-dimensional clock of galactic rotation we find ourselves in respect to the additional forward movement through interstellar space? In other words, if the Milky Way (in addition to spiral rotation) is also moving in one direction through interstellar space, where is our Sun’s spiral arm position on the clock if the direction of forward movement is 12:00 o’clock?” Note: the A. Centauri star system experienced a recent expulsion of energy and I’m curious if our Sun is headed towards that space. $\endgroup$ – Geoffrey Howe Aug 1 '18 at 13:10

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