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Nearest Stars

The nearest stars to Earth include some of the brightest stars in the sky. The closest star system to the Sun, Alpha Centauri, is the third brightest stellar point of light in the sky. Sirius, the brightest star in Earth’s night sky, is the seventh individual nearest star to the solar system.

Procyon, the eighth brightest star, lies only 11 light-years away, and Altair, the 12th brightest star, is 17 light-years away. The bright Vega and Fomalhaut are within 30 light-years of Earth, and Arcturus, Pollux, and Denebola are within 40 light-years.

Most bright stars in the solar neighbourhood are not exceptionally luminous. While they are tens of times more luminous than the Sun, the nearest visible stars appear bright primarily because they are nearby.

However, the majority of the 100 nearest stars (see the list below) are not bright at all. They are red dwarfs, too faint to be visible to the unaided eye. These stars make up more than three-quarters of all stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, and the solar neighbourhood is no exception. Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to Earth, is itself a red dwarf.

closest stars to earth

This diagram illustrates the locations of the star systems closest to the sun. The year when the distance to each system was determined is listed after the system’s name. Image: NASA/Penn State University

Red dwarfs are the smallest and coolest stars on the main sequence, as well as the most long-lived. Due to their low mass, they can stay on the main sequence, fusing hydrogen to helium, for trillions of years before they run out of fuel. In comparison, our Sun has a lifespan of only 10 billion years.

The 10 closest individual stars to Earth are Proxima Centauri, Rigil Kentaurus, Toliman, Barnard’s Star, Wolf 359, Lalande 21185, Sirius, BL Ceti, UV Ceti, and Ross 154. Most of these stars are red dwarfs, invisible without binoculars and telescopes. Only Sirius and the two brighter components of the Alpha Centauri system (Rigil Kentaurus and Toliman) do not belong to this group.

The three nearest stars to Earth are part of the same star system: Alpha Centauri. Alpha Centauri lies in the southern constellation Centaurus. The triple star system contains the red dwarf Proxima Centauri, the nearest individual star to the Sun, and its brighter and larger companions Rigil Kentaurus and Toliman.

The distance to the nearest star is 4.2465 light-years (1.30197 parsecs). The companions lie 4.37 light-years (1.34 parsecs) away.

The nearest visible stars to the Sun are Alpha Centauri A and B, Sirius, Epsilon Eridani, Procyon, 61 Cygni A and B, Epsilon Indi, Tau Ceti, Omicron2 Eridani, 70 Ophiuchi, and Altair.

Most of these stars are cool orange (class K) dwarfs. Sirius and Altair are class A stars, Procyon is an F-type star, and Rigil Kentaurus and Tau Ceti are yellow dwarfs (G-type main sequence stars) like the Sun.

Nearest stars with planets

Proxima Centauri hosts the nearest planetary system to Earth. One of the three known planets, Proxima Centauri b, orbits in the star’s habitable zone. It is slightly larger and more massive than Earth. The planet was discovered in 2013, and its existence was confirmed in 2016.

Two other planets were detected in 2019 in 2022. Proxima c, whose existence is still in question, is a super-Earth with a mass about 7 times that of our planet, and Proxima d has a mass of at least 0.29 Earth masses. The planets orbit outside of Proxima’s habitable zone.

Other nearby stars with potentially habitable planets include the red dwarf Ross 128, the Sun-like star Tau Ceti, and the red dwarfs Gliese 1061, Luyten’s Star, Teegarden’s Star, Wolf 1061, Gliese 229, Gliese 880, and Gliese 667.

Several of the Sun’s closer neighbours – Wolf 359, Lalande 21185, Epsilon Eridani, Lacaille 9352, and Struve 2398 – host planets that orbit outside their parent stars’ habitable zones.

Nearest stars by type

Most stars in the Sun’s neighbourhood are cool class M dwarfs. The nearest stars in the hot, luminous classes (O, B, WR, LBV) lie at much greater distances. This is fortunate for life on Earth because exceptionally luminous stars go through their evolutionary stages quickly due to their high masses and many end their lives in supernova events.

  • Nearest O-type star: Zeta Ophiuchi (366 ly)
  • Nearest B-type star: Regulus (Alpha Leonis, 79.02 ly)
  • Nearest A-type star: Sirius (Alpha Canis Majoris, 8.60 ly)
  • Nearest F-type star: Procyon (Alpha Canis Minoris, 11.46 ly)
  • Nearest G-type star: Rigil Kentaurus (Alpha Centauri A, 4.37 ly)
  • Nearest K-type star: Toliman (Alpha Centauri B, 4.37 ly)
  • Nearest M-type star: Proxima Centauri (Alpha Centauri C, 4.2465 ly)
  • Nearest Wolf-Rayet (WR) star: Regor (Gamma2 Velorum, 1,200 ly)
  • Nearest luminous blue variable (LBV): P Cygni (5,250 ly)
  • Nearest giant star: Pollux (Beta Geminorum, 33.78 ly)
  • Nearest supergiant star: Polaris (Alpha Ursae Minoris, 323 – 433 ly)
  • Nearest brown dwarfs: Luhman 16 (6.503 ly)
  • Nearest white dwarf: Sirius B (8.709 ly)
  • Nearest supernova candidate: IK Pegasi (154 ly)

The distance to the nearest supergiant is uncertain. Polaris (the North Star), a yellow supergiant located between 323 and 433 light-years away, is probably the nearest supergiant to the Sun.

Some sources list the red supergiants Betelgeuse and Antares as the nearest stars in this luminosity class, but recent estimates place these stars 548 and 550 light-years away. Canopus, the second brightest star in the sky, lies about 310 light-years away and was once classified as an intermediate luminosity supergiant (class F). However, recent studies give it the classification A9II, indicating a bright giant.

Closest stars to Earth

Proxima Centauri

The closest star to Earth is Proxima Centauri (Alpha Centauri C), a red dwarf located only 4.2465 light-years away. Proxima is the faintest and smallest component of the Alpha Centauri system, which also includes Rigil Kentaurus (Alpha Centauri A) and Toliman (Alpha Centauri B).

Proxima is a red dwarf of the spectral type M5.5Ve. It has a mass of only 0.1221 solar masses and a radius of 0.1542 solar radii. With a surface temperature of 3,042 K, it shines with 0.0017 solar luminosities. The star’s estimated age is 4.85 billion years, which makes Proxima a little older than the Sun (4.603 billion years).

Proxima Centauri hosts at least two planets. One of these, Proxima b, orbits within the star’s habitable zone. Proxima d, discovered in 2019, orbits too close to the star and Proxima c, detected in 2022, is too far for liquid water to form on its surface. The existence of Proxima c has not yet been definitively confirmed.

Like many nearby red dwarfs, Proxima Centauri is classified as a flare star. Its brightness can increase dramatically because of magnetic activity in its atmosphere. Whether or not the flare outbursts could strip any orbiting planets of their atmospheres is a matter of ongoing debate.

alpha centauri c,nearest star to the sun

Proxima Centauri (Alpha Centauri C), image: ESA/Hubble & NASA (CC BY 4.0)

Rigil Kentaurus and Toliman

The Alpha Centauri system is the third brightest point of light in the sky. The two brighter components, Rigil Kentaurus and Toliman, are the second and third nearest individual stars to the Sun. They appear as a single star to the unaided eye and shine at magnitude -0.27 from a distance of 4.37 light-years.

Rigil Kentaurus (Alpha Centauri A) is a yellow dwarf of the spectral type G2V. It is the nearest Sun-like star to Earth. It hosts a candidate exoplanet, Alpha Centauri Ab, discovered in 2021. The existence of the planet has not been confirmed.

Toliman is an orange dwarf with the stellar classification K1V. It is the nearest K-type star to the Sun. It has an estimated age of 5.3 billion years.

The two stars orbit each other with a period of 79.762 years. Rigil Kentaurus is slightly larger and more massive than the Sun, and Toliman is slightly smaller and less massive.

Barnard’s Star

Barnard’s Star is the nearest star to the Sun in the northern celestial hemisphere. It lies 5.9629 light-years away in the constellation Ophiuchus. With an apparent magnitude of 9.511, it is invisible to the unaided eye.

The star is a red dwarf with a mass of 0.144 solar masses and a radius of 0.196 solar radii. It shines with 0.0035 solar luminosities with an effective temperature of 3,134 K. It has an estimated age of about 10 billion years.

Barnard’s Star was named after American astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard, who measured its proper motion – the highest known for any star – in 1916. It is catalogued as Gliese 699 in the Gliese Catalogue of Nearby Stars and has the variable star designation V2500 Ophiuchi.

Barnard’s Star is classified as a variable star of the BY Draconis type. It exhibits variations in brightness due to starspots that come in and out of view as it rotates. The star also experiences flare events.

Barnard’s Star hosts a candidate exoplanet with a mass at least 3.23 times that of Earth. The planet was detected in 2018, but its existence has been questioned.

closest stars to the sun

A spatial representation of every star within 14 light-years of Sol. There are 32 known stars in this region, including Sol. The stars are coloured according to the spectral type, which may not reflect the actual colour. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Inductiveload

Wolf 359

Wolf 359 is a red dwarf of the spectral type M6V. It shines at magnitude 13.507 from a distance of 7.856 light-years. It lies in the constellation Leo. The star is classified as a UV Ceti-type variable. It exhibits brightness variations due to stellar flares.

Wolf 359 is one of the lowest-mass stars discovered to date. It has a mass of 0.11 solar masses and a radius of 0.144 solar radii. With a surface temperature of 2,749 K, it shines with only 0.0011 solar luminosities. The star is believed to be between 100 and 350 million years old.

Two planets were detected orbiting Wolf 359 in 2019. Neither planet orbits in the habitable zone; one is too close to the star and the other, too far.

Lalande 21185

Lalande 21185 (Gliese 411) is a red dwarf with the stellar classification M2V. It lies 8.3044 light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. With an apparent magnitude of 7.520, the star is invisible to the unaided eye. It has 39% of the Sun’s mass and a radius of 0.392 solar radii. It shines with 0.0195 solar luminosities with an effective temperature of 3,601 K. The star’s estimated age is between 5 and 10 billion years.

Like Barnard’s Star and Proxima Centauri, Lalande 21185 is a flare star of the BY Draconis type.  Observations show that it is relatively quiet compared to other variable stars in this class.

The star hosts at least two planets, designated Gliese 411 b and c. Gliese 411 b has a mass of at least 2.64 Earth masses and orbits the star with a period of 12.9395 days at a distance of 0.0788 astronomical units. Gliese 411 c is at least 14.2 times more massive than Earth. It completes an orbit around the parent star every 2,806 days at a separation of 2.845 astronomical units.

A third planet, Gliese 411 d, was detected in 2021, but its existence has not been confirmed. All three planets orbit outside the star’s habitable zone.


Sirius is the brightest star in the sky, shining at magnitude -1.46 from a distance of 8.60 light-years. It lies in the constellation Canis Major, the Great Dog, and is popularly known as the Dog Star.

Sirius is a white main sequence star of the spectral type A0mA1 Va. It has a mass 2.063 times that of the Sun and a radius of 1.711 solar radii. It is 25.4 times more luminous than the Sun and has a surface temperature of 9,940 K. The star spins faster than the Sun, with a projected rotational velocity of 16 km/s. It has an estimated age of about 242 million years.

Sirius has a faint companion, the white dwarf Sirius B. The companion is sometimes affectionally called the Pup. The stellar remnant packs a mass of 1.018 solar masses within a radius of only 0.0084 solar radii (slightly smaller than Earth’s radius). It has an apparent magnitude of 8.44.

Sirius A and Sirius B are separated by 8.2 to 31.5 astronomical units during their orbit. They have an orbital period of 50.1284 years.

sirius a,sirius b,sirius star system

This Hubble Space Telescope image shows Sirius A, the brightest star in our nighttime sky, along with its faint, tiny stellar companion, Sirius B. Astronomers overexposed the image of Sirius A [at centre] so that the dim Sirius B [tiny dot at lower left] could be seen. The cross-shaped diffraction spikes and concentric rings around A*, and the small ring around Sirius B, are artifacts produced within the telescope’s imaging system. The two stars revolve around each other every 50 years. Sirius A, only 8.6 light-years from Earth, is the fifth closest star system known. The image was taken with Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. Image: NASA, ESA, H. Bond (STScI), and M. Barstow (University of Leicester)

BL Ceti and UV Ceti (Luyten 726-8)

The binary system Luyten 726-8 (Gliese 65) consists of a pair of red dwarfs located 8.87 and 8.72 light-years away in the constellation Cetus. The fainter component, UV Ceti (Luyten 726-8 B), is a prototype for a class of flare stars known as UV Ceti variables. Its brightness has been observed to increase by 75 times within 20 seconds due to flare activity. The star shines at magnitude 13.2 and has the stellar classification M6V.

The brighter of the two red dwarfs, BL Ceti (Luyten 726-8 A), has an apparent magnitude of 12.7 and the spectral classification M5.5 V. It is classified as a UV Ceti-type variable but does not show as dramatic an activity as UV Ceti.

Both stars have a mass of about 0.1 solar masses and a radius of 0.14 solar radii. They orbit each other with a period of 26.52 days at a separation that varies from 2.1 to 8.8 astronomical units.

Ross 154

Ross 154 is a red dwarf located 9.7063 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius. Like Proxima Centauri and Barnard’s Star, it is classified as a flare star. It has the variable star designation V1216 Sagittarii. Shining at magnitude 10.44, the star is invisible to the unaided eye.

Ross 154 has a mass of only 0.177 solar masses and a radius of 0.200 solar radii. With a surface temperature of 3,248 K, it shines with 0.0038 solar luminosities. It has an estimated age of less than 1 billion years.

103 nearest stars to the Sun

The list below includes star systems, individual stars, stellar remnants, and substellar objects located within 20 light-years (6.13 parsecs) of Earth. There are 131 objects currently known to lie within this distance. They are divided among 94 star systems. Only 22 objects are brighter than magnitude 6.5, i.e. visible to the unaided eye.

Most objects on the list (103) are main sequence stars. There are also 6 white dwarfs, 21 brown dwarfs, and a sub-brown dwarf. Only true stars (objects massive enough to sustain nuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium) are numbered. Substellar objects (brown dwarfs) and stellar remnants (white dwarfs) are not.

OrderStarStar systemDistance (ly)Spectral classApparent magnitude
1Proxima Centauri 

Alpha Centauri

4.2465 ± 0.0003M5.5Ve10.43 – 11.11
2Rigil Kentaurus4.37G2V0.01
4Barnard’s Star5.9629 ± 0.0004M4.0V9.511
Luhman 16 ALuhman 166.5029

± 0.0011

L7.510.7 (J)
Luhman 16 BT0.5 ± 1
WISE 0855−07147.430

± 0.041

Y4V25.00 ± 0.53
5Wolf 3597.856 ± 0.001M6V13.507
6Lalande 211858.3044 ± 0.0007M2V7.520
7SiriusAlpha Canis Majoris8.60 ± 0.04A0mA1 Va-1.46
Sirius B8.709 ± 0.005DA28.44
8UV CetiLuyten 726-88.72 ± 0.01M6 V13.2
9BL Ceti8.87 ± 0.02M5.5 V12.7
10Ross 1549.7063 ± 0.0009M3.5V10.44
11Ross 24810.3057 ± 0.0014M6V12.23 – 12.34
12Ran (Epsilon Eridani)10.4749 ± 0.0037K2V3.736
13Lacaille 935210.7241 ± 0.0007M0.5V7.34
14Ross 12811.0074 ± 0.0011M4V11.13
15EZ Aquarii A 

EZ Aquarii


11.109 ± 0.034

M5 V13.33
16EZ Aquarii BM13.27
17EZ Aquarii CM14.03
18ProcyonAlpha Canis Minoris11.402 ± 0.032F5 IV–V0.34
Procyon BDQZ10.7
1961 Cygni A61 Cygni11.4039

± 0.0012

2061 Cygni BK7V6.05
21Struve 2398 AStruve 239811.4908 ± 0.0009M3V8.94
22Struve 2398 BM3.5V9.70
23GX AndromedaeGroombridge 3411.6191

± 0.0008

24GQ AndromedaeM4.1V11.007
25DX Cancri11.6797

± 0.0027

26Epsilon Indi A 

Epsilon Indi


± 0.0041

K5V4.8310 ± 0.0005
Epsilon Indi Ba12.05 ± 0.03T112.3 (J)
Epsilon Indi BbT613.2 (J)
27Tau Ceti11.9118 ± 0.0074G8V3.50 ± 0.01
28Gliese 106111.984 ± 0.001M5.5V13.03
29YZ Ceti12.1222 ± 0.0015M4.0Ve12.03 – 12.18
30Luyten’s Star12.3485

± 0.0019

31Teegarden’s Star12.4970

± 0.0045

M7.0 V15.13
32Kapteyn’s Star12.8308

± 0.0008

sdM1 or M1.5V8.853 ± 0.008
33Lacaille 876012.9472

± 0.0018

34SCR 1845-6357 ASCR 1845-635713.0638

± 0.0070

SCR 1845-6357 BT613.3 (J)
35Kruger 60 AKruger 6013.0724

± 0.0052

36Kruger 60 BM4.0V11.40
37DEN 1048-395613.1932

± 0.0027

38Ross 614 ARoss 61413.363

± 0.040

39Ross 614 BM8V14.23
UGPS J0722-054013.43

± 0.13

T916.52 (J)
40Wolf 106114.0500

± 0.0016

Van Maanen’s Star14.0718

± 0.0011

41Gliese 114.1747

± 0.0022

42L 1159-1614.5780

± 0.0046

43Wolf 424 AWolf 42414.595

± 0.031

dM6e13.22 ± 0.01
44Wolf 424 BdM6e13.21 ± 0.01
45Gliese 68714.8395

± 0.0014

46Gliese 67414.8492

± 0.0018

47LHS 29214.8706

± 0.0041

LP 145-14115.1226 ± 0.0013DQ611.50
48Gliese 1245 A 

Gliese 1245


± 0.0034

49Gliese 1245 BM614.01
50Gliese 1245 CM5.516.75
WISE 1741+255315.22

± 0.20

T916.53 ± 0.02 (J)
51Gliese 87615.2382

± 0.0025

WISE 1639−684715.450

± 0.041

52LHS 28815.7586

± 0.0034

53GJ 100215.8060

± 0.0036

DEN 0255-470015.877

± 0.014

54Groombridge 161815.8857

± 0.0017

K7.5 Ve6.60
55Gliese 412 AGliese 41215.9969

± 0.0026

56Gliese 412 BM6.0V14.45
57AD Leonis16.1939

± 0.0024

58Gliese 83216.2005

± 0.0019

59Gliese 68216.3328

± 0.0026

60KeidOmicron2 Eridani16.3330

± 0.0042

Omicron2 Eridani BDA49.52
61Omicron2 Eridani CM4.5eV11.17
62EV Lacertae16.4761

± 0.0018

6370 Ophiuchi A70 Ophiuchi16.7074

± 0.0087

6470 Ophiuchi BK4V6.07

± 0.049

66EI Cancri AEI Cancri16.800

± 0.011

67EI Cancri BM7V
WISE 1506+702716.856

± 0.052

T614.328 ± 0.095 (J)
68GJ 337916.9861

± 0.0027

M3.5 V11.307
DENIS J081730.0−61552017.002

± 0.037

69Gliese 44517.1368

± 0.0017

702MASS J15404341−510135717.3738

± 0.0046

2MASS 0939−2448 A2MASS 0939−244817.41

± 0.44

T815.61 ± 0.09 (J)
2MASS 0939−2448 B
71LHS 172317.5309

± 0.0026

72Gliese 52617.7263

± 0.0024

M1.5 V8.464
73Stein 2051 AStein 205117.9925

± 0.0020

Stein 2051 BDC511.19
2MASS 1114−261818.20

± 0.14

T7.5>15.86 (J)
74Gliese 25118.2146

± 0.0028

75LP 816-6018.3305

± 0.0038

WISE 0350−565818.49

± 0.24

Y1>22.8 (J)
76LSR J1835+325918.5534

± 0.0049

M8.518.27 ± 0.03
77Gliese 20518.6042

± 0.0022

2MASS 0415−093518.62

± 0.18

T8V15.343 ± 0.004 (J)
78Gliese 229 A18.7906

± 0.0018

Gliese 229 BT7V
79Alsafi (Sigma Draconis)18.7993

± 0.0081

80Ross 4718.8883

± 0.0031

81Gliese 570 A 

Gliese 570


± 0.0074

82Gliese 570 BM1V8.07
83Gliese 570 CM3V10.5
Gliese 570 DT7V
84Gliese 69319.2078

± 0.0053

85Gliese 75419.2724

± 0.0067

86Gliese 90819.2745

± 0.0032

M1V Fe-18.93 – 9.03
87Gliese 752 AGliese 75219.2922

± 0.0027

88Gliese 752 BM8V17.30
89Gliese 58819.2996

± 0.0031

90AchirdEta Cassiopeiae19.3314

± 0.0025

91Eta Cassiopeiae BK7V7.51

36 Ophiuchi


± 0.0036

K2 V5.08
9336 Ophiuchi BK1 V5.03
9436 Ophiuchi CK5 V6.34
95YZ Canis Minoris19.5330

± 0.0040

M5 V11.15
WISE 1541−225019.54

± 0.24

Y0.521.16 ± 0.36 (J)
96GJ 1005 AGJ 100519.577

± 0.035

97GJ 1005 B
98HR 7703 AHR 770319.609

± 0.013

K2.5 V5.31
99HR 7703 BM4 V11.50
10082 G. Eridani19.7045

± 0.0093

G6 V4.254
101Gliese 268 AGliese 26819.7414

± 0.0076

102Gliese 268 BM5Ve12.45
103Delta Pavonis19.893

± 0.015

G8 IV3.56
SIMP J013656.5+09334719.955

± 0.057

T2.513.455 ± 0.030 (J)
2MASS 0937+293119.96

± 0.22