The nearest star to the Earth is the Sun, the great ball of fire in the sky. Some people forget the Sun is actually a star. The nearest star to the sun is also the second nearest star to the Earth. It is referred to as a dwarf star compared so absolute giants out there such as UY Scuti, the current record holder at 1708 times the size of our sun.
Proxima Centauri is the second closest star to Earth. Proxima, its name meaning Proximate is one of three stars that make up the Alpha Centauri / Rigil Kentaurus multiple star solar system. Proxima is a dim red dwarf star and the nearest of its type. Sadly, Proxima can't be been seen without a telescope or binoculars. Alpha Centauri A and B are the next closest at positions three and four in the list. They are located in the southern constellation of Centaurus.
Proxima is also the nearest star that has an orbiting extra solar planet. Proxima is a flare star which means that fires plasma outwards, scorching its planets thereby extinguishing any hope of life existing on that planet. Proxuma is approximately 4 light years away, it would take a space ship travelling at the speed of light four years to arrive at the planet. Technology does not yet exist to get there in a persons lifetime.
The fastest space probe that we have at the moment is New Horizons which was sent to Pluto before it was downgraded to a dwarf planet. The probe travels at 52,000 Mph. At that rate with that technology, it would take the probe approximately 54,000 years. New Horizons is not currently heading in the direction of that star system. We don't currently have technology that would get us there and back within a lifetime yet. Theoretical plans have been put forward to get to Alpha Centauri such as using micro probes and solar sails, both of which are in the design phase.
The other two are yellow stars similar to our own star. Alpha Centauri A is slightly larger than our Sun but not by much. Unlike Proxima as it is too small to be visible with the naked eye, Alpha Centauri can be seen without visual aids. All three stars that make up the Alpha Centauri star system are located in the southern hemisphere. Only those in the southern part of the northern hemisphere have any chance of seeing it.
Barnards Star is the closest star in the Northern Hemisphere and situated in the constellation of Ophiuchus, the thirteenth sign of the Zodiac. It is named after E.E. Barnard who although he didn't discover it, he was known for the discovery of the high proper motion of the star.
Barnard's Star is situated about 5.9 light years away from Earth. Since this article was first written, an exoplanet was discovered in orbit round the planet and the brilliant thing is that the planet could well be in the Goldilocks Zone. Barnards Star Exoplanet Discovery.
Luhman 16 is a small brown dwarf star in Vela, the closest of its type if you exclude nemesis. Nemesis is a theoretical star that is believed to affect the an area of space 1 light year away known as the Oort Cloud and cause the comets in the belt to head towards us. It is a binary star system but I have only detailed one of the stars on this site. Therefore you could say they are the 6th and 7th closest stars to us. The name for the star comes from its discoverer, Kevin Luhman from the Pennsylvania University in the United States
Wise 0855-0714 is located in Hydra and is a small and not very luminous star that was discovered recently. It is not a star to be seen in the night sky. It was discovered by Kevin Luhman who also discovered the sixth most closest star to us.
Anyone who knows a lot about Star Trek will know of the famous fictional battle, Battle of Wolf 359 which resulted in destruction of The Federation fleet at the hands of a Borg Cube. The fact that the star is close to Earth was the reason for its being chosen. At that time of the series, Luhman and Wise stars had not yet been discovered. The star is located in the constellation of Leo.
Lalande 21185 is the brightest red dwarf in the northern hemisphere and only third brightest in the night sky. It is too dim to be seen in the night sky with the naked eye but probably be seen with a good telescope or binoculars. It can be located in the Ursa Major northern constellation.
The tenth closest is Sirius, the Dog star in the constellation of Canis Major and it is also the brightest star in the night sky. Sirius is a double star and the companion star would amount to being the 11th nearest.
The nearest star excluding the Sun is Proxima Centauri as mentioned above. Sadly, its a flare star and therefore it bakes its planets frequently meaning it is unsuitable for life to survive. The next nearest is Barnard's Star, that has a large planet and is believed to be close enough to support life.
The Universe is so vast that we can't see the edge of the galaxy. The most distant star covered on this site is R136a, in the constellation of Dorado. The star is not in our galaxy but is in the Tarantula Nebula in the satellite galaxy of the Large Magellanic Cloud.
The imaginatively name HE 0437-5439 is moving out of the milky way Galaxy at a speed of three times the orbital speed of the Sun. Some stars will appear that they are further out on this website but the data should be assumed to be incorrect.
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