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Barnard's Star, HIP87937

Barnard's Star Location in Ophiuchus

Primary Facts on Barnard's Star

  • Barnard's Star's star type is subdwarf star that can be located in the constellation of Ophiuchus. The description is based on the spectral class.
  • Barnard's Star is not part of the constellation outline but is within the borders of the constellation.
  • The star can not be seen by the naked eye, you need a telescope to see it.
  • Using the most recent figures given by the 2007 Hipparcos data, the star is 5.95 light years away from us.

Barnard's Star's Alternative Names

HIP87937 is the reference name for the star in the Hipparcos Star Catalogue. The Gliese ID of the star is GL 699. The star was part of the original catalogue devised by German Astronomer Wilheim Gliese of stars located within 20 parsecs of Earth. Star Names

Barnard's Star has alternative name(s) :- V2500 Ophiuchi.

BD number is the number that the star was filed under in the Durchmusterung or Bonner Durchmusterung, a star catalogue that was put together by the Bonn Observatory between 1859 to 1903. The star's BD Number is BD+04 3561a.

More details on star alternative names can be found at Star Names .

Location of Barnard's Star

The location of the star in the night sky is determined by the Right Ascension (R.A.) and Declination (Dec.), these are equivalent to the Longitude and Latitude on the Earth. The Right Ascension is how far expressed in time (hh:mm:ss) the star is along the celestial equator. If the R.A. is positive then its eastwards. The Declination is how far north or south the star is compared to the celestial equator and is expressed in degrees. For Barnard's Star, the location is 17h 57m 48.97 and +04° 40` 05.8 .

Radial Velocity and Proper Motion of Barnard's Star

All stars like planets orbit round a central spot, in the case of planets, its the central star such as the Sun. In the case of a star, its the galactic centre. The constellations that we see today will be different than they were 50,000 years ago or 50,000 years from now. Proper Motion details the movements of these stars and are measured in milliarcseconds. The star is moving 10,328.12 ± 1.01 miliarcseconds/year towards the north and -798.58 ± 1.51 miliarcseconds/year east if we saw them in the horizon.

The Radial Velocity, that is the speed at which the star is moving away/towards the Sun is -110.51 km/s with an error of about 0.10 km/s . When the value is negative then the star and the Sun are getting closer to one another, likewise, a positive number means that two stars are moving away. Its nothing to fear as the stars are so far apart, they won't collide in our life-time, if ever.

Physical Properties (Temperature) of Barnard's Star

Barnard's Star has a spectral type of sdM4. The star is 7,398.00 Parsecs from the Galactic Centre or in terms of Light Years is 24,129.56 s. The star has a B-V Colour Index of 1.57 which means the star's temperature has been calculated using information from Morgans @ Uni.edu at being 3,854 Kelvin.

Barnard's Star Radius has been calculated as being 0.05 times bigger than the Sun.The Sun's radius is 695,800km, therefore the star's radius is an estimated 32,766.83.km. If you need the diameter of the star, you just need to multiple the radius by 2. However with the 2007 release of updated Hipparcos files, the radius is now calculated at being round 0.05. The figure is derived at by using the formula from SDSS and has been known to produce widely incorrect figures. The star's Iron Abundance is -0.15 with an error value of 9.99 Fe/H with the Sun has a value of 1 to put it into context.

Barnard's Star Apparent and Absolute Magnitudes

Barnard's Star has an apparent magnitude of 9.54 which is how bright we see the star from Earth. Apparent Magnitude is also known as Visual Magnitude. If you used the 1997 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of 13.24 If you used the 2007 Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of 13.24. Magnitude, whether it be apparent/visual or absolute magnitude is measured by a number, the smaller the number, the brighter the Star is. Our own Sun is the brightest star and therefore has the lowest of all magnitudes, -26.74. A faint star will have a high number.

Distance to Barnard's Star

Using the original Hipparcos data that was released in 1997, the parallax to the star was given as 549.01 which gave the calculated distance to Barnard's Star as 5.94 light years away from Earth or 1.82 parsecs. It would take a spaceship travelling at the speed of light, 5.94 years to get there. We don't have the technology or spaceship that can carry people over that distance yet.

In 2007, Hipparcos data was revised with a new parallax of 548.31 which put Barnard's Star at a distance of 5.95 light years or 1.82 parsecs. It should not be taken as though the star is moving closer or further away from us. It is purely that the distance was recalculated.

Using the 2007 distance, the star is roughly 375,399.33 Astronomical Units from the Earth/Sun give or take a few. An Astronomical Unit is the distance between Earth and the Sun. The number of A.U. is the number of times that the star is from the Earth compared to the Sun.

The star's Galacto-Centric Distance is 7,398.00 Parsecs or 24,129.56 Light Years. The Galacto-Centric Distance is the distance from the star to the Centre of the Galaxy which is Sagittarius A*.

Source of Information

The source of the information if it has a Hip I.D. is from Simbad, the Hipparcos data library based at the University at Strasbourg, France. Hipparcos was a E.S.A. satellite operation launched in 1989 for four years. The items in red are values that I've calculated so they could well be wrong. Information regarding Metallicity and/or Mass is from the E.U. Exoplanets. The information was obtained as of 12th Feb 2017.

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Additional Barnard's Star Facts and Figures

Visual Facts


Primary / Proper / Traditional NameBarnard's Star
Alternative NamesV2500 Ophiuchi, HIP 87937, BD+04 3561a, Gliese 699
Spectral TypesdM4
Constellation's Main StarNo
Multiple Star SystemYes
Star TypeSubdwarf Star
GalaxyMilky Way
ConstellationOphiuchus
Absolute Magnitude 13.24 / 13.24
Visual / Apparent Magnitude9.54
Naked Eye VisibleRequires a 7x50 Binoculars - Magnitudes
Right Ascension (R.A.)17h 57m 48.97
Declination (Dec.)+04° 40` 05.8
Galactic Latitude14.05 degrees
Galactic Longitude30.99 degrees
1997 Distance from Earth549.01 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 5.94 Light Years
 1.82 Parsecs
2007 Distance from Earth548.31 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 5.95 Light Years
 1.82 Parsecs
 375,399.33 Astronomical Units
Galacto-Centric Distance24,129.56 Light Years / 7,398.00 Parsecs
Proper Motion Dec.10328.12 ± 1.01 milliarcseconds/year
Proper Motion RA.-798.58 ± 1.51 milliarcseconds/year
B-V Index1.57
Radial Velocity-110.51 ± 0.10 km/s
Iron Abundance-0.15 ± 9.99 Fe/H
Eccentricity0.69
Semi-Major Axis12278.00

Companions (Multi-Star and Exoplanets) Facts


Exoplanet CountNone/Unaware

Estimated Facts


Calculated Effective Temperature3,854 Kelvin

Sources and Links


SIMBAD SourceLink

List of Extrasolar Planets orbiting Barnard's Star


NameStatusMass (Jupiters)Orbital Period (Days)EccentricityDiscoveredSemi-Major AxisPeriastron
Barnard's Star bConfirmed0.01016232.8000.322018

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