Luyten 726-8 (UV Ceti)
Luyten 726-8 (UV Ceti) is one of the nearest star systems to the Sun at a distance of 8.73 light-years (see stars, nearest). It lies in the constellation Cetus, northeast of Deneb Kaitos (Beta Ceti). Luyten 726-8 is a binary in which both components are red dwarfs in a highly elliptical orbit of period 26.5 yr that takes the two stars between 2.1 and 8.8 AU apart. Component B is an extreme example of a flare star that can surge in brightness by a factor of five in less than a minute, then fall somewhat slower back down to normal luminosity within two or three minutes before flaring suddenly again after several hours. In 1952, Luyten 726-8 B, better known by its variable-star name UV Ceti, was observed flaring to 75 times its normal brightness in only 20 sec. It is the prototype of the class known as UV Ceti stars.
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