Barnard's Star

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Barnard's Star (or Barnard's Star, also 15040 Munich ) is a small star in the constellation Ophiuchus. At a distance of about 6 light years, Barnard's Star next fourth among the known stars of the solar system. Only the three components of α Centauri system are closer. However, the arrow star is a red dwarf with spectral type M4 and apparent magnitude 9.54 like, allowing it to dim despite its proximity, to be observed without a telescope or a strong prism binoculars can. It is located near the star 66 Oph. By the year 11,800 he will approach the Sun to 3.8 light years and then remove again.

Fast runner

Barnard's Star has the biggest known proper motion of 10.3 seconds of arc per year. Its relative speed to our solar system is about 140 kilometers per second. The extent of his own movement was discovered in 1916 by astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard. Up to this point Kapteyn's star had been considered in the Pictor ( southern sky ) as the star with the largest proper motion. Such stars, the sky position shifts rapidly, are referred to in astronomy as a fast runner. How quickly moves Barnard's star, illustrates the animation. It consists of four images that were recorded at intervals of three years.


In 1938 we started on Sproul Observatory, a series of photographic plates of the star to create, to measure its parallax and secular acceleration in more detail and to search for potential companions of the star. From 1963 to a large number of astronomers for many years accepted the claim of Peter van de Kamp, that he had discovered an error in the proper motion of the arrow star, from the result that the star of one or two planets with Jupiter comparable mass 'll orbits.

However, G. Gatewood could not prove the or the planet when tested at the Allegheny Observatory ( until 1973 ). Nevertheless, the theory of planets around Barnard's Star held until well into the 1980s until Van de Kamps claim was widely viewed as incorrect. The reason for the inaccuracy of the results of van de Kamps were initially undetected errors on the measurement instrument used.

As long as the claim was recognized, it was though to fame of the star in the science fiction community at ( it is for example part of the plot of the TV series Moonbase Alpha 1 ) and let Barnard's Star as a promising target for the Daedalus project, planning an interstellar spacecraft, appear.