If you ask some one which is the closest star to our planet earth, most of use will say it’s our Sun, the hot boiling ball which is 150 million kilometers away. All right, that was an easy one, so we’re not going to count it. We’re here to tell you, the three closest stars near to earth besides the Sun are Alpha Centauri, 4.2 light years away, Barnard’s Star which is 5.9 light years away and Wolf 359 which is 7.8 light years away.
According to the scientists, Alpha Centauri isn’t just one star; it’s made up of three other stars. First, there is this binary pair, which orbits their center of gravity, for every 80 years. The binary stars consists of Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B. Alpha Centauri is slightly larger than our sun and the Alpha Centauri B is slightly less in size than the Sun. Apart from these two, there is a third member to this constellation, known as the little red dwarf, the Proxima Centauri. Together they make up Alpha Centauri, the closest sun to earth than Sun.
The constellation of Alpha Centauri is known as the Centaurus constellation, which can be seen from the southern hemisphere. Even if you are able to see the constellation, you won’t be able to identify the Proxima Cantauri, which appears as a faint red spot. You really need a powerful telescope to clear the vision. Just give you an assumption to how far the closest star is, consider this; the fastest spacecraft built by NASA, the New Horizon travels at a space of 60,000 km/hr. Just to reach Pluto, it will take more than nine years. Travelling at the same speed, it will take it 78,000 years to reach the Alpha Centauri. Mind boggling isn’t it?
Now about the next closest star, the Bernard Star, which is 5.9 light years away, and is the closest visible star if you view from the Northern Hemisphere. Although, it is also another dwarf star in the Ophiuchus constellation and cannot be viewed without a strong telescope. However, the closest star which you can see from the naked eyes, in the Northern Hemisphere is the Dog Star or the Sirius. The sheer massive size of this star, which is may be twice or thrice the size of the Sun, makes it visible from a distance of 8.6 light years. The reason why its called Dog Star, is because during the winters, in Northern Hemisphere, it appears as the bright star chasing the Orion.
However, many scientists claim that the positions and the distance of these stars is not static and it will change once in a while, for e.g. Alpha Centauri has been our closest star for over 32,000 years and it will be there for the next 30,000 years or something. It will be closest to the Sun in almost 25,000 years with a distance of 3.11 light years from our planet. Scientists say, that after 33,000 years, Ross 248 will be the closest star.