Universe Guide

The 10 Nearest Exoplanet Solar Systems to Earth

Although the nearest exoplanet to our system has been covered by a previous blog article, this expands on the article by listing the 10 Nearest Exoplanets to the system. These planets may or may not be inside the Goldilocks Zone, the area that is not too hot and not too cold to support life as we know it.

Proxima Centauri, (4.3 Ly)

Proxima Centauri is a small red dwarf star that not only is the nearest star with an exoplanet but is the nearest star full stop to our own Solar System. The star is not visible without a visual aid such as a telescope as it is so small. If you were hoping that there might be life on the planet then you will be sadly disappointed as the star is a flare star. A flare star will errupt and shoot out large amounts of plasma which when it hit the atmosphere would sanitise the planet, destroying its atmosphere and any life that might reside on it.

Barnard's Star (5.95 Ly)

Barnard's Star is a small sub-dwarf star with one planet. It is one of our nearest stars at a mere 5.95 light years away in the constellation of Ophiuchus, the so-called thirteenth Zodiac star sign. It is named after American astronomer E.E. Barnard who was first to study the star. Barnard Star has a high proper-motion speed meaning it is moving across the sky fast.

Wolf 359 (7.86 Ly)

Wolf 359 is a faint star, not visible to the naked eye. It gained fame as being a star featured in Star Trek which saw Captain Jean-Luc Picard being captured and turned into a Borg before the being rescued in the Battle of Wolf-359. Unlike the first two, this star has two planets.

Lalande 21185 (8.31 Ly)

Lalande 21185 is a faint red star in the constellation of Ursa Major in the northern hemisphere. Only one planet has been discovered round this star currently. The star lies at a distance of 8.31 light years, near twice the distance that Proxima Centauri is from Earth.

Ran / Epsilon Eridani (10.49 Ly)

Ran is the first star on the list that can be seen without the need to use binoculars or a telescope. It used to be unofficially known as Sadira hence the filename. It was subsequently named Ran after a competition run by the International Astronomical Union. It is an orange main sequence star.

Lacaille 9352 (10.68 Ly)

Lacaille 9352 is a red dwarf star meaning it is cooler and smaller than our own star, the Sun. It is the same sort of star that Proxima Centauri is, that is the star that is closest on the list. It is a three exoplanet system which is the largest system so far on the list. It is located in Piscis Austrinus . The exoplanet data does currently exist in Exoplanet.EU .

Ross 128 (10.94 Ly)

Ross 128 is a small red dwarf star in the constellation of Virgo. It is about 10.94 light years from Earth. Only one planet has been discovered in orbit round the star.

Struve 2398 B (11.27 Ly)

Struve 2398 is one of two stars but the planet orbits the secondary star. This planet if it had a surface, it would resemble Tatooine, the planet from Star Wars, famed for having two stars. The star is in the constellation of Draco , the Dragon in the northern hemisphere.

Groombridge 34 A (11.70 Ly)

Groombridge 34 A is another of the red dwarf flare stars that is similar to Proxima Centauri. Given its status as a flare star, the planet is unlikely to have an atmosphere as it would have been destroyed by a flare. It is a small star in the constellation of Andromeda.

Tau Ceti (11.91 Ly)

Tau Ceti has the largest exoplanet solar system on the list with 4 planets. The star can be seen without the use of visual aids but the planets will still not be visible.

Finishing off...

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