Quick Quiz about Earth’s new neighbor

An artist’s impression of the planet orbiting Barnard’s Star, which is the nearest single star to the sun. (ESO/M. Kornmesser)

Q. Quick quiz: What’s the nearest star to our sun?

A. Proxima Centauri — a red dwarf that is too faint to be seen with the naked eye. It’s part of a three-star system, the brightest of which is Alpha Centauri.

Q. Interesting! The villains in Ed’s Repelling the Invasion series are called Proximanians; I wonder if this is where they’re from.

But For the moment, let’s forget multiple-star systems. What’s the closest single star, like our sun?

A. Barnard’s star.

Q. And does it have any planets?

A. It does now

An international team of scientists has found evidence that suggests a large, rocky world — a super-Earth — may be orbiting a nearby star.

Barnard’s Star is the fourth closest star to us, coming after the Alpha Centauri triple-star system, comprising of Proxima Centauri and Alpha Centauri A and B. Named after American astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard, the star is quite special: It moves across our sky — a measure called proper motion — faster than any other star.

Read the rest of the article about our new next-door neighbor.




  1. Oh WOW! Thanks, Ed. I enjoy learning something new. I have heard of this star. I did not know the details and the picture is beautiful.

    1. I don’t always follow science stories — I’ve let my subscription to Science News lapse — but when I do, I usually enjoy them.

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