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Alpha Centauri, our nearest star system, just got a new name

What do Elton John, Marilyn Monroe, Whoopi Goldberg, and Alpha Centauri have in common? They’re all stars that changed their names. But Alpha Centauri, our nearest star system, is taking back its ancient moniker, Rigil Kentaurus, which means “foot of the centaur” in Arabic. The newly named system is one of 227 stars and star systems that received name clarifications from the International Astronomical Union yesterday. That’s because many celestial bodies have multiple names, reports. The star Fomalhaut, for example, had 30. But not everyone is a fan of the new name, veteran stargazers and Sid Meier fans included.


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