Saturday, June 30, 2007

Barnard’s Star

Star type
g M3.8 V

Distance from Earth
g 5.941 ly

Star Service No.
g NA

g 10 by

g 15%-20%; >17%; NA

Brightness (xSol)
g 4/10,000th; old inactive red dwarf; will last another 40 by before cooling into a black dwarf

g 10%-32% of elements heavier than hydrogen

Comparison to Sol
g NA

Picture of star
g See picture
g See photo at upper right of page

Star system features
g Approaching Sol rapidly at 140 kilometers per second and will get as close as 3.8 ly around 11,800 CE

Known planets
g None; was once thought to have two Jupiter-class planets; for separation range of 0.017 AU to 0.98 AU, can not be planet greater than 0.12 Jupiter-mass and mass greater than 0.86 Jupiter mass

Habitable zone
g 0.034 AU to 0.082 AU, but cannot be a planet greater than 7.5 Earth-masses and mass greater than 3.1 times Neptune’s mass; orbits star in 5.75 to 21.5 days; at 1 AU, sun would be dim and very red,100 times brighter than the full Moon, and so planet would freeze solid at surface; rocky planets sparse in heavier elements of the atomic table; greater probability of gas giants made mostly of hydrogen and helium in cold, outer orbits. Probability of a habitable planet is 0.1%.

Orbital map
g NA

View from star
g Sol would have an apparent magnitude of +1.1
g Astronomers could discern that Sol possesses a Jupiter-sized planet by watching the star's wobble over a 12-year period. Jupiter would pull Sol away from its average path through space by up to 0.003 arc seconds in a pattern that repeated about every 12 years.

Nearby stars
(Star systems with 10 light years)
g Ross 154, 5.5 ly
g Sol, 6 ly
g Alpha Centauri AB, 6.5 ly
g Alpha Centauri C, 6.6 ly
g BD-12 4523 AB, 9.1 ly
g 61 Cygni AB, 9.5 ly
g Struve 2398 AB, 9.5 ly

Map locating star system
g See stellar map

Location in Earth sky
g Northernmost part of Constellation Ophiuchus, the Serpent Holder, west of Cebalrai or Kelb al Rai (Beta Ophiuchi); not visible to the naked eye

Other names
g V2500 Ophiuchus
g NSV 9910
g Gl 699
g Hip 87937
g BD+04 3561a
g LHS 57
g LTT 15309
g LFT 1385
g G 140-24
g Vys/McC 799
g Munich 15040

Sci-fi mentions
g Project Daedalus (British Interplanetary Society proposal)
g In The Legion of Space (1934), novel by Jack Williamson, Barnard's Star is home to the ancient and dreadful race of the Medusae.
g The Black Corridor (1969), novel by Michael Moorcock. Barnard's Star is the destination for a group of people fleeing from social breakdown on Earth.
g Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD (1978), a Terran Trade Authority book by Stewart Cowley. A fictional planet near Barnard's Star is the location of a mysterious apparition that takes the form of an unidentified spacecraft.
g The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1979), novel by Douglas Adams. Barnard's Star is a way station for interstellar travellers.
g Hyperion (1989-1997), novels by Dan Simmons. Barnard's Star has a farm-like habitable planet which is the homeworld of Rachel and Sol Weintraub, both being members of the 7 pilgrims.
g Rocheworld (1990), novel by Robert L. Forward. The Barnard's Star system contains one Giant planet called Gargantua and a binary rocky planed system called Roche. The first manned interstellar mission is sent to Barnard's Star using a ship with a huge solar sail impulsed by a Laser.
g The Garden of Rama (1991), novel by Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee. There is a way station at Barnard's Star for the arrival and departure of massive cylindrical world ships.
g Frontier: Elite II and Frontier: First Encounters, computer games. Barnard's Star is an important Federation industrial system with heavy mining and refining industry close to Earth and the other Core Systems. It proved to be the ideal beginners trading place—no pirates and high profits, exporting robots or computers to Sol and importing Luxury Goods from there could make you a millionaire in no time at all.
g The star was a favorite of Robert L. Forward who featured it in three books. The Flight of the Dragonfly(1984) introduces Rocheworld and the Cheela species. In Timemaster (Tor Books:1992), a billionaire makes a six year journey to the star system to open a wormhole in 2049. In Marooned on Eden, co-written in 1993 with his wife Margaret, the starship Prometheus takes a crew on a 40 year mission to Zuni, and inhabitable moon around Rocheworld's neighbor, Garagantua.

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