Image credit & copyright: Daniel LaShomb.
Here’s an interesting star that doesn’t look like much but it’s not what it looks like, it’s what it does. I captured this image last week and not only is this not the first time that I’ve imaged it, it won’t be the last. Located just six light years away in the constellation Ophiuchus the serpent bearer, is Barnard’s Star named after American astronomer, E.E. Barnard. What’s so special about this star is that it’s the fourth known closest star to earth after the three in the Alpha Centauri system and at 10.358 arcseconds of motion a year, it displays the highest proper motion of any star in our night sky. Second is Kapteyn’s Star in the constellation Pictor at 8.67 arcseconds of motion and third is Groombridge 1830 in the constellation Ursa Major with 7.05 arcseconds of motion.
Proper motion, in short is a star’s (or anything) apparent motion relative other stars. Most objects in the universe will show very little to no motion at all through the course of your life but if you image this star every year it will have moved slightly. If you have the means to image this star what a great legacy tradition it would be if you cataloged this star’s motion through the years and pass that task on to your children and your children’s children. Every generation adding to the track of motion that can be looked back upon with fondness and wonder. Have a great week everyone. Feel free to use this image with credit.
Name: Barnard’s Star
What is it?: Runaway star
How far away is it?: 6 light years
Proper motion: 10.358” arcseconds a year
Apparent magnitude: 9.5
Where is it (general)?: Constellation Ophiuchus the Serpent Bearer
Where is it (exact RA/Dec J2000): RA 17h 57m 48.5s / Dec +04d 41’ 36.2”