Science: Wolf 424

Until 1915 the bright star Alpha Centauri was steadfastly regarded by astronomers as the sun's nearest stellar neighbor.

Its distance from the sun is 4.3 light years —about 25 trillion miles. In 1915 Dr. Robert T. A. Innes of Johannesburg discovered, by parallax observations,* that a faint star near Alpha Centauri was only 4.16 light-years away. For 23 years, up to last week, that star, appropriately called Proxima Centauri, held rank as the No. 1 solar neighbor. Last week, from the University of Chicago's Yerkes Observatory in Wisconsin, it was announced that another faint...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!