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Names For This Star

Rigel Kentaurus derives from the Arabic Al Rijl al Kentaurus, "The Centaur's Foot." This is often shortened to Rigil Kent.

The The Bright Star Catalog lists Toliman as an alternative name for this star.

Description of the Star

The stars of the Rigel Kentaurus system represent the nearest stars to the earth other than the sun.

A Triple Star System

The Rigel Kentaurus system is a triple star system. The A star primary is of spectral type G2V, that is yellow star of the same type as our sun. This star is slightly larger in mass and diameter than the sun, and slightly more luminous.

The B component of the system is separated by about 24 AU from A (that is somewhat greater than the distance between the sun and planet Uranus) and revolves with a period of 79.9 years.

Rigel Kentaurus C is a cool red M5.5Ve main sequence dwarf with a Visual Magnitude of 11.1, corresponding to a luminosity of about 1/17,000 that of the sun. This star is known as Proxima Centauri.

The Nearest Star

Proxima is separated from the other two stars of the system by about 1/6 of a ly. At 4.22 ly from the earth, Proxima is actually the nearest single star to the earth.

See this German site for a nice three-dimensional representation of our nearby neighbor stars.

See this page for more information on the Rigel Kentaurus system.

Other Designations For This Star

Hipparcos Identifier (HIP Number)


Harvard Revised (HR Number)


Henry Draper Catalog (HD Number)


Bonner Durchmusterung (BD Number)

CP-60 5483
Smithsonian Astrophysical
Observatory compendium (SAO Number)

Fundamental Katalog (FK5 Number)