Wolf 359 (star)

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Wolf 359 is an M class dwarf star (also known as a red dwarf) in the constellation Leo. Its alternate names and catalogue numbers are

  • N Leonis,
  • Gl 406,
  • GJ 406,[1]
  • G 45-20,
  • LFT 750,
  • LTT 12923,
  • LHS 36.[2]

Proximity and properties

Wolf 359 is the fifth closest star to earth.[3] Located about 7.8 light years from earth, it is much smaller than earth’s star, Sol, at about 16% of Sol’s diameter. At the same distance from earth as Sol, it would be necessary to use a telescope to see its shape. It has approximately 9 % of Sol’s mass. Wolf 359 is also much dimmer at about 1/200,000th of Sol’s luminosity. It is too dim to see with the human eye and would cast only about 10 times the brightness reflected during a full moon on earth.[4][5][6]

Wolf 359 is a variable star [7] and flares periodically, growing dramatically in brightness and then receding in luminosity.[8]


Wolf 359 is located on the celestial sphere coordinates[9] at right ascension 10 hours 56 minutes 29.2 seconds and declination +07 degrees 00 arcminutes 53 arcseconds.[10][11][12][13][14]


  1. Gliese and Jahreiss name denoted Catalog of Nearby Stars
  2. Luyten Half Second catalogue (LHS)
  3. Proxima Centauri, 4.2 light years; Alpha Centauri A & Alpha Centauri B, 4.4 light years; Bernard’s Star, 5.9 light years
  4. Coronagraphic Imaging of Nearby Stars Comparison with Ground-based View Space Telescope Science Institute
  5. Wolf 359
  6. On the mass radius relation of late M dwarfs Caillault, J-P, Patterson, J. (1990) Astronomical Journal
  7. catalogued as variable star CN Leonis
  8. Optical and infrared photometry of dwarf M and K stars Doyle, J.G., Butler, C.J. (1990) Astronomy and Astrophysics. 235:335-339.
  9. Note: The celestial sphere has an earth correlated equator which is a projection of the same coordinates of earth. The correlating prime meridian runs through the vernal equinox (i.e. 0 hours 0 minutes & 0 seconds) marking the time from the vernal equinox in a 24-hour circle. So declination (latitude) for stars will directly correlate with that of earth and right ascension (longitude) correlates to a sphere that circumscribes earth’s orbital path around Sol. See Celestial Coordinate System University of Tennessee; and Celestial Coordinates James Schombert, Dept. of Physics, Univ. of Oregon
  10. See illustration at The universe within 12.5 light years Richard Powell
  11. Research Consortium on Nearby Stars (RECONS)
  12. Recon census of objects nearer than 10 parsecs
  13. The 100 nearest star systems
  14. Nearby stars database Northern Arizona University

Internal Links

Proxima Centauri (star)

Stellar classification (astrophysics)

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