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Proxima Centauri

The yellow "chevron" shapes in the image above are the fields of view imaged by the WFPC2 detector. Overlaid on a Digitized Sky Survey image, they help highlight the relative positions the asteroid trail and Proxima Centauri.

The asteroid trail in Centaurus was a serendipitous discovery made using the Wide Field and Planetary Camera (WFPC2) while NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was performing a detailed study of the Sun's nearest stellar neighbor, Proxima Centauri, using the Fine Guidance Sensors. This primary program by Dr. Benedict, Dr. Jefferys (both of the University of Texas) and collaborators was designed to search for small deviations in the position of Proxima Centauri that could reveal the presence of an unseen planetary companion.

Proxima Centauri is close enough to our solar system that its motion (proper motion as opposed to parallax) can be measured as it moves against the background of more distant stars.

This movie was also constructed from the Digitized Sky Survey (DSS) images of this star. (The DSS is also available via SkyView.) The image colored blue in the movie was taken through a blue filter in 1976 while the one colored green was taken through a green filter 6 years later.

The Digitized Sky Survey (DSS) was the work of Barry Lasker and his group at Space Telescope Science Institute.