This dim red dwarf star is the second closest to Sol (our Sun) after Alpha Centauri. It is located about 6 light years away, in the northernmost part of the constellation Ophiuchus (the Serpent Holder), just west of Cebalrai (or Kelb al Rai). However, like other red dwarfs, it is not visible to the naked eye, with a visual magnitude of 9.56.

The star was named after its discoverer, noted astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard (1857 - 1923), who first spotted it in 1916. He also noted that the star has the largest known proper motion (motion across the sky) of all known stars (10.3 arcseconds per year).

This high apparent speed is the result of its proximity to Sol as well as its actual speed of travel through interstellar space. In fact, Barnard's Star is approaching Sol quite rapidly, at 140 kilometers per second (87 miles per second) and will get as close as 3.8 light years in less than 10,000 years.

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