Illustration Credit & Copyright: Linda Huff (American Scientist), Priscilla Frisch (U. Chicago)
Position in the Milky Way:
The Sun lies close to the inner rim of the Milky Way’s Orion Arm, in the Local Interstellar Cloud (or Gould Belt). This places it at a distance of about 26,000 light years from the Galactic Centre. The Sun is contained within the Local Bubble, a cavity in the interstellar medium that contains rarefied hot gas.
The general direction of the Sun’s galactic motion is towards the star Vega in the constellation of Lyra, at an angle of roughly 60 sky degrees to the direction of the Galactic Centre. Of the 10 nearest stellar systems within 10 or so light-years from Earth, most are dwarfs, including the closest, Proxima Centauri (at 4.2 light-years), which is part of the Alpha Centauri System – the other two are called A & B – in fact Proxima is also known as Alpha Centauri C.
Sirius, also known as the Dog Star, is 8.6 light years away and the brightest star in the night sky. It has a companion called Sirius B, which is a white dwarf. The heliacal rising of this star (that is, its rise just before Sunset) was used by the ancient Egyptians as a way to know when the Nile would start flooding each year.
You can spot Sirius in the sky starting in late November; it's very bright and lies not far from Orion, the Hunter.