There are 3 stars in the Alpha Centauri system: 2 large stars orbting around each other (A & B) and a distant Proxima Centauri (C) orbiting around both.

Right now it just happens that Proxima Centauri is in the right place in its orbit that it is the closest star in the system to us.

But when will that change and the pair of Alpha Centauri A and B will become the closest?


1 Answer 1


In Wikipedia on Alpha Centauri, it is said that Proxima orbits the A/B pair with a period of approximately 547000 years.

Later in the same article, there's a graph showing predicted future changes in distances. It shows that roughly 25000 years from now, Proxima and A/B will be at the same distance from earth, with this distance being only 3 light years.

  • $\begingroup$ The whole discussion and plot in the Wikipedia article is pre-Gaia. I wonder how much has changed based on new data (from Gaia for Proxima at least)? $\endgroup$
    – ProfRob
    Commented Mar 30, 2022 at 7:32

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .