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Centaurus (the centaur) was one of the 48 constellations listed by Ptolemy, and counts also among the 88 modern constellations. It contains Proxima Centauri, the red dwarf that is the nearest known star (other than the Sun) to Earth, as well as Alpha Centauri, which is a double star to which Proxima Centauri is apparently gravitationally bound. It also contains Omega Centauri, the brightest globular cluster in the sky.

According to Greek Mythology, the constellation is Cheiron who was a wise Centaur (half-man, half-horse) known as a tutor to Jason (the Argonauts leader), and tutor to Hercules (a demi-god).