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The Top 10 Closest Stars to Earth

How Close are the Nearest Stars to Earth?


So, in order to make this list easier to digest, I have actually organized it in terms of the 10 closest star systems. The reason being that some star systems contain two or more stars. Therefore this list actually will outline the 15 closest stars to Earth, contained in the 10 closest star systems.

1. The Sun

Sunrise over Africa
Günay Mutlu/ Photorgapher's Choice RF/ Getty Images

Obviously the title holder on this list is the central star of our solar system; our Sun. It illuminates the Earth in the daytime and is responsible for the Moon's glow in the night. Without the Sun, life would not exist here on Earth.

2. Alpha Centauri

The Alpha Centauri system is actually composed of three stars. The primary stars in the system, Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B are about 4.37 light-years from Earth. A third star, Proxima Centauri (sometimes called Alpha Centauri C) is gravitationally associated with the former, but is actually slightly closer to Earth at 4.24 light-years away.

3. Barnard's Star

This faint red dwarf is about 5.96 light-years from Earth. It was once hoped that Barnard's star might contain planets around it, but attempts to detect such objects have produced nothing. Barnard's star is located in the constellation Ophiuchus.

4. Wolf 359

Located only 7.78 light-years from Earth, Wolf 359 is very close but because it is so dim it is not visible to the naked eye. This faint red dwarf is located in the constellation Leo. An interesting bit of trivia: it was also the location of an epic battle on the television series Star Trek the Next Generation.

5. Lalande 21185

Located in the constellation Ursa Major, Lalande 21185 is a faint red dwarf that, like many of the stars in this list, is too faint to be seen with the naked eye. This star has been of particular interest to astronomers as it is thought to possibly have planets orbiting it. However at a distance of 8.29 light-years it is not likely that we would be able to travel there in our lifetimes.

6. Sirius (α Canis Majoris)

The binary star system of Sirius A and Sirius B is located about 8.58 light-years from Earth, located in the constellation Canis Major. Known more commonly as the Dog Star, the combined output of both stars make Sirius the brightest star in the sky. Note: Technically Sirius B is not a star, but is instead a stellar remnant. Specifically it is a white dwarf, which is what will be left behind once our Sun reaches the end of its life.

7. Luyten 726-8

Located in the constellation Cetus, this binary star system is 8.73 light-years from Earth.

8. Ross 154 (V1216 Sagittarii)

At 9.68 light-years from Earth this red dwarf has been found to be a flaring star, meaning that it can increase its surface brightness by an entire order of magnitude in a matter of minutes, then quickly revert to its normal levels. Located in the constellation Sagittarius it is actually a close neighbor of Barnard's star.

9. Ross 248 (HH Andromedae)

Ross 248, about 10.32 light-years form Earth, is actually moving so fast that in about 36,000 years it will actually take over the title as the closest star to Earth (besides our Sun). However, it will quickly begin moving away again and will relinquish the title about 9,000 years later. A dim red dwarf, it is a target of intense scientific study, and the Voyager 2 probe will actually make a close pass within 1.7 light-years of the star in about 40,000 years. The star is currently located in the constellation Andromeda.

10. Epsilon Eridani (BD−09°697)

Located in the constellation Eridanus, this star at 10.52 light-years form Earth is the closest star to have planets orbiting around it. It is the third closest star that is visible to the naked eye.

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