Here's a photo of Crux and part of Centaurus. Note Alpha Centauri (which is a binary star), Proxima (the red dwarf with two super-earth planets) and Beta Centauri. Alpha and Beta Centauri are the "southern pointers" - they point to the red giant Gacrux at the head of the Southern Cross in the constellation Crux.
Image Credit & License: Y. Beletsky (LCO), ESO, Pale Red Dot Team
The nearest star to us - beyond the Sun, of course - is Proxima, part of the Alpha Centauri triplet. Proxima is a red dwarf star. Looking up at a clear, dark sky, you can see thousands of stars. Yet without binoculars or a telescope, this most common type of star is invisible. The small, cool red dwarfs fill the sky and live practically forever.
The View from Alpha Centauri | Growing up in the late 1960s and 1970s, I was an avid viewer of science fiction on television. Naturally, the programs I watched included the classic series Lost in Space where I learned the name of the first star I knew other than the Sun – Alpha Centauri (also written as α Centauri) which was the destination of the Robinson family flying on board the Jupiter 2. As a young budding astronomer in the early 1970s, I learned that α Centauri was the closest star system to the Sun and appeared as the third brightest star in our nighttime sky with a V magnitude, mV, of -0.27 (unfortunately, I could not see it from my home in New England).
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