Alpha Centauri is the name for the brightest apparent star in the southern constellation of Centaurus, which is the closest naked-eye star to the sun, and the name for the multi-star system that composes that apparent star. To the unaided eye this multi-star system appears as a single star, whose total visual magnitude would identify it as the fourth brightest star in the night sky. The visible part of Alpha Centauri is actually a binary star system, the individual stars being designated Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B, or, collectively, Alpha Centauri AB. They are 1.34 parsecs or 4.37 light years away from our Sun. However, a third star called Proxima Centauri, or Proxima, which is not visible to the naked eye, is likely to be a gravitational companion of this binary system. The whole (potential) trinary star system may also be called Alpha Centauri.
In 1980, ANSA astronauts Virdon, Burke and Jones were on a mission towards Alpha Centauri aboard the Probe Six when they passed through a dimensional time vortex and were propelled over 1,000 years into the future. They crashlanded back on Earth, with only Virdon and Burke surviving.