Stars dot our ever-expanding universe. While our nearest star is the sun we orbit in this small corner of the universe, we can observe to see neighboring stars living nearby.
The closest stars to Earth are three stars located about 4.37 light-years apart in the Alpha Centauri triple star system. The closest of these stars, Proxima Centauri, is only about 4.24 light-years away. (for reference, one light year is equivalent to 5.88 trillion miles (9.46 trillion km)).
Suffice it to say, “near” in space is a far cry from our definition on Earth.
Related: Do all stars have planets?
Of all the stars closer than 15 light-years, only two are of the same type as our sun: a G-type main sequence star. G-type stars are like our sun, and known as a yellow dwarf, is typically about 0.9 to 1.1 solar masses with surface temperatures that can range from about 9,080 degrees Fahrenheit (5,026 degrees Celsius) to 10,340 degrees Fahrenheit (5,726 degrees). C).
The only two G-type stars in our vicinity are Alpha Centauri A and Tau Ceti. Most of the nearby stars are M-type stars, also known as red dwarfs, the most common stars in the universe.
Only nine stars in this region are bright enough to be seen with the naked eye from Earth. These bright stars include Alpha Centauri A and B, Sirius A, Epsilon Eridani, Procyon, 61 Cygni A and B, Epsilon Indi A, and Tau Ceti.
Barnard’s Star, a red dwarf 5.96 light-years away, has the largest proper motion of any known star. This means that Barnard’s Star is moving rapidly against the background of more distant stars, at a rate of 10.3 arcseconds per Earth year.
Sirius A is the brightest star in Earth’s night sky, due to its intrinsic luminosity and proximity to us. Sirius B, a white dwarf, is smaller than Earth but it has 98% the mass of our sun.
In late 2012, astronomers discovered that Tau Ceti may contain five planets, including one in the star’s habitable zone. Tau Ceti is the closest single G-type star like our sun (although the Alpha Centauri triple star system also contains a G-type star and is much closer).
The mass of the planet Tau Ceti is between two and six times the mass of Earth.
This page was updated by Space.com writer Chelsea Gohd in January 2022.
https://www.space.com/18964-the-nearest-stars-to-earth-infographic.html The closest stars to Earth (Infographic)