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Artist's impression of Sirius A and B, viewed from within their system
- Title Artist's impression of Sirius A and B, viewed from within their system
- Released 08/12/2005 12:24 pm
- Copyright NASA/ESA/G. Bacon (STScI)
This artist's impression shows how Sirius A and its diminutive blue companion, Sirius B, might appear to a visitor in this binary star system. The large, bluish-white star Sirius A dominates the scene, while Sirius B is the small but very hot and blue white-dwarf star on the right. The two stars revolve around each other every 50 years. White dwarfs are the leftover remnants of stars similar to our Sun.
The Sirius system, only 8.6 light-years from Earth, is the fifth closest stellar system known. Sirius B is faint because of its tiny size. Its diameter is only 7500 miles, slightly smaller than the size of our Earth. The Sirius system is so close to Earth that most of the familiar constellations would have nearly the same appearance as in our own sky.
In this image, there are the three bright stars that make up the Summer Triangle: Altair, Deneb and Vega. Altair is the white dot above Sirius A; Deneb is the dot to the upper right; and Vega lies below Sirius B. But there is one unfamiliar addition to the constellations: our own Sun is the second-magnitude star, shown as a small dot just below and to the right of Sirius A.