1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Top 10 Closest Stars to Our Solar System


According to the About Astronomy and Space Online Dictionary, stars are:
  • "A ball of mostly hydrogen and helium gas that shines extremely brightly. Our Sun is a star. A star is so massive that its core is extremely dense and hot. At the high core temperatures of a star, atoms move so fast that they sometimes stick to other atoms when they collide with them, forming more massive atoms and releasing a great amount of energy. This process is known as nuclear fusion."

Here are the Top 10 Closest Stars to our solar system.

1. Proxima Centauri

Solar flares on the Sun against a background of The Milky Way, digital composite.
Mike Hill/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images
The closest star to our own solar system will not always be closest, but it will be a long time before that happens. Proxima Centauri is the third star in the Alpha Centauri star system, also known as Alpha Centauri C.
  • Distance: 4.2 LY
  • Spectral Type: M5.5Vc

2. Rigil Kentaurus

The second closest star is a tie between the sister stars of Proxima Centauri. Alpha Centauri A and B make up the other two stars of the triple star system Alpha Centauri.
  • Distance: 4.3 LY
  • Spectral Type: G2V

3. Barnard's Star

A faint red dwarf star, discovered in 1916 by E. E. Barnard, recent efforts to discover planets around Barnard's Star have failed.
  • Distance: 5.9 LY
  • Spectral Type: M3.8V

4. Wolf 359

Known to many as the location of a famous battle on Star Trek the Next generation, Wolf 359 is a red dwarf. It is so small that if it were to replace our sun, an observer on Earth would need a telescope to see it clearly.
  • Distance: 7.7 LY
  • Spectral Type: M5.8Vc

5. Lalande 21185

While it is the fifth closest star to our own sun, Lalande 21185 is about three times too faint to be seen with the naked eye.
  • Distance: 8.26 LY
  • Spectral Type: M2V

6. Luyten 726-8A and B

Discovered by Willem Jacob Luyten (1899-1994), both Luyten 726-8A 726-8B are red dwarfs and too faint to be seen with the naked eye.
  • Distance: 8.73 LY
  • Spectral Type: M5.5 de & M6 Ve

7. Sirius A and B

Sirius, also known as the Dog Star, is the brightest star in the sky. Sirius B, the companion, has received considerable attention itself, since it is the first white dwarf with a spectrum to show a gravitational red shift as predicted by the general theory of relativity.
  • Distance: 8.6 LY
  • Spectral Type: A1Vm

8. Ross 154

Ross 154 appears to be a flare star, which means that it can increase its brightness by a factor of 10 or more before reverting to its normal state, a process which takes only a few minutes.
  • Distance: 9.693 LY
  • Spectral Type: M3.5

9. Ross 248

While it is now the ninth closest star to our solar system, around the year 38000AD, the red dwarf Ross 248 will take the place of Proxima Centauri as the closest star to us.
  • Distance: 10.32 LY
  • Spectral Type: M5.5V

10. Epsilon Eridani

Eridani (tenth closest star to Earth) is the closest star known to have a planet, Epsilon Eridani b. It is the third closest star that is viewable without a telescope.
  • Distance: 10.5 LY
  • Spectral Type: K2V

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.