Proxima Centauri, the closest star to us after the Sun, is part of a triple system whose other two members constitute the double ? Centauri. In the 1830s, the latter was the subject of the first successful stellar parallax measure ments made in Cape Town by Thomas Henderson. Proxima was found in 1915, at the Union Observatory in Johannesburg by R T A Innes, as a faint star with a high proper motion similar to that of ? Cen. Its parallax was measured independently over the following two years by J G E G Vote at the Cape and by Innes himself, unknown to each other. Innes, on the basis of his rather rough result, declared it to be closer than ? and named it 'Proxima Centauri', but the truth of its proximity was only established rigorously in 1928 by H A Alden, based on observations at the Yale Southern Station in Johannesburg.
- Pub Date:
- July 2007