List Notes: Please note: distances to stars are difficult to measure accurately and should be considered as rough estimates only.
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A light year is the distance light travels in a year: 5,880,500,000,000 miles or 9,463,700,000,000 kilometres.
The nearest star to Earth is "just" four light years away yet it would take an Earth spaceship travelling 40,237 kilometres (25,000 mph) 113,200 Earth years to reach Proxima Centauri.
the Sun's nearest neighbour is really a system of three stars, slowly orbiting around one another. Alpha Centauri A (the 4th brightest star in the star in the sky) is very similar to our yellow Sun. Alpha Centauri B is a bit smaller, and its dimmer light has an orange hue because the temperature of its outer layers is cooler - about 4800 degrees Celsius compared to the 5800 degrees of the Sun and alpha Centauri A.
Barnard's Star is named after Edward Barnard, who discovered it in 1916. A very cool and dim, main sequence red dwarf, Barnard's Star has less than 17 percent of the suns mass, 15 to 20 percent of its diameter, around 4/10,000th of its visual luminosity, and between 10 and 32 percent of its abundance of elements heavier than hydrogen. According to calculations by Dr. Sten Odenwald, substituting Barnard's Star for our own sun would give the Earth such a dim and very red Sun that it would only be 100 times brighter than the Full Moon, and thus Earth would freeze solid at the surface.
Wolf 359 was discovered by Maximilian Franz Joseph Cornelius Wolf (1863-1932) a German astronomer and a pioneer in the field of astrophotography. Wolf 359 is a relatively young star with an age of less than a billion years. The motion of Wolf 359 was first measured in 1917 by Wolf, with the aid of astrophotography. In 1919 he published a catalog of over one thousand high proper motion stars, including this one, that are still identified by his name. He listed this star as 359, and the star has since been referred to as Wolf 359 in reference to the position in Max Wolf's catalogue.
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