Barnard's Star


Bar·​nard's Star ˈbär-nərdz- How to pronounce Barnard's Star (audio)
: a red dwarf star of the ninth magnitude that is located approximately six light years away in the constellation of Ophiuchus
Such is the case with Barnard's Star. It is the fourth closest star to Earth at only 36 trillion miles away, yet you'll need a telescope to see it.Tom Burns, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, 16 July 1995

Note: Barnard's Star is notable because it is one of the closest stars to the Sun. Only the Alpha Centauri system is closer.

Word History


after Edward Emerson Barnard †1923 American astronomer

Note: Barnard drew attention to the star, previously recorded on photographic plates, because of its unusually large proper motion; see "A Small Star with Large Proper Motion," Popular Astronomy, vol. 24 (1916), pp. 504-08 (article dated by the author July 25, 1916).

First Known Use

1916, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Barnard's Star was in 1916

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Cite this Entry

“Barnard's Star.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

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