The nearest stars: a conworlder's guide

As a resource for aspiring sf writers, here's a handy list of the stars nearer than 10 parsecs, with real estate appraisals. You'll recognize many of them, as we've known where the good stars are for decades and they've been used many times by various writers.

You can get most of this at Wikipedia (here and here), also at SolStation; but I've tried to concentrate on information useful for conworlding. I've left out historical observations, chemistry, and location in the sky (use the maps instead). If your main planet orbits one of these stars, you should of course look up more information on it.

You can see what I made of it myself on my Incatena page. More conworlding resources here.

Click the map to enlarge

General info
Where to put colonies
For long-range thinkers
Star names
Known extrasolar planets
Distances between stars
Measurements and caveats

Within five parsecs
Red dwarfs
Brown dwarfs

Out to 10 parsecs
Further out

General info

Where to put colonies

The Astronomy & Geology chapter of the Planet Construction Kit gives more information on stellar types and habitable zones, as well as how to set up your planet once you've got it.

Stars vary immensely in brightness. Our sun is pretty near the top of the list in our local neighborhood. It's a G star, and that's the cachet of quality in the list below: stars like the sun are likely to have sunlike solar systems. We can guess that K is almost as good— it's dimmer, but you just put your planet closer.

With brighter stars, the problem is that they're young. A stars (such as Sirius) are likely to last only some hundreds of millions of years; even F stars (such as Procyon) may last just two billion. Compare the 4 billion years it took for Earth to develop an interesting ecosphere, and the 4.6 billion years it took to develop intelligent life.

B stars are even brighter, but they're also moot for our purposes; the closest one is Regulus at 78 ly.

Super-bright, super-massive O stars seem likely to blow away the proto-planetary dust by photoevaporation. But the closet one is ζ Ophiuchi which is a bit of a trek, 460 ly.

The red dwarfs, class M, have their own problem: it's likely that the habitable zone is so close that planets would be tidally locked, and that would probably destroy the atmosphere. Violent stellar flares could be a problem too. For this reason I've listed but de-emphasized the M stars. (One clever solution: make your earthlike planet a moon of a gas giant. It'd be tidally locked to its planet, but not to the sun.)

Also worrisome are the many multiple star systems. This could make planetary orbits unstable, and recall we'd like billions of years of stability. If the stars are relatively far apart (50+ AU), it may not be a problem.

Not everyone needs a planet, of course. My Incatena dudes are as happy to live on a space habitat as a planet.


Magnitude is just brightness. The system goes back to Ptolemy at least, who divided the stars into six magnitudes. It was regularized in the 19C as a logarithmic scale: 5 magnitudes of difference = 100 times brighter. Thus if A is one magnitude lower than B, it's 2.512 times brighter. (Higher magnitudes are dimmer.)

Apparent magnitude is measured from Earth... a very parochial measurement, of course, once we're flitting about in space, and we'll have none of it here, except to offer a table that can help get the concept across:
-27 Sun as seen from Earth
-23 Sun as seen from Jupiter
-13 maximum brightness of full moon
-4.9 maximum brightness of Venus
-2.9 maximum brightness of Jupiter and also Mars
-1.47 Sirius
-.04 Arcturus
-.27 our friend α Centauri
1.25 Deneb
1.97 Polaris (the northern pole star)
3.5 τ Ceti
5.32 Uranus
6.5 limit of naked eye visibility under excellent conditions
6.73 Ceres, the largest asteroid
9.5 limit of visibility using 7x50 binoculars
31.5 limit of the Hubble telescope

More interesting is absolute magnitude, which allows comparisons regardless of distance. For stars it's what the apparent magnitude would be if the star was 10 parsecs (32.6 ly) away. So stars closer than that— i.e. the stars on this page— have an absolute magnitude smaller than their apparent one. The sun's is a not very impressive 4.83; but then the red dwarfs that make up most of its neighbors are 11 or more.

The diagram suggests differences in magnitude. (Unfortunately I can't make the whites brighter than your screen, so I've had to just add more pixels.)

The typical star is a red dwarf; our sun is in the top 10% for luminosity. But the scale extends much, much higher. The brightest star presently known is R136a1, a blue hypergiant in the Large Magellanic Cloud, with an absolute magnitude of -12.5. (That is, if it were one parsec away it'd be as bright as the full moon.) Even that's not the limit— e.g the quasar 3C 273 has an absolute magnitude of -26.7... that is, at one parsec it'd be as bright as the sun. You might not want to get any closer; quasars are the hungry accretion disks around the massive black holes at the center of large young galaxies.

For long-range thinkers

If your story is set thousands of years in the future, be aware that all these stars are moving. Ross 248, for instance, has a radial velocity of 81 km/s, which is .027% of lightspeed. Over thousands of years, that adds up: Ross 248 is expected to approach to just 3.0 ly from the Sun by AD 38,000. It's probably fair to say that most stars listed here will be no more than 0.2 ly away from their current position in the next millennium. You'll want to keep an eye on that Barnard's Star, the star with the highest proper motion; it's heading our way and in AD 11,700 will be just 3.8 ly away. Disappointingly, it won't even be visible in the sky then.

If you really like to think ahead, you probably want a red dwarf: it's estimated that a dwarf of 0.1 solar mass can keep burning for 10 trillion years (compare our sun which will have a lifetime of 10 billion years, and it's half over).

Star names

Hundreds of stars have beautiful names, mostly Greek, Latin, or Arabic. And very few of those are on this list, becuase the brightest stars in the sky are mostly giants very far from Sol.

So what you get are names from one star catalog or another. The Greek letter + constellation names, which cover most visible stars, derive from Johann Bayer's Uranometria, published in 1603. The Greek letters are (somewhat roughly) assigned by brightness; some constellations are large enough that Bayer ran out of Greek letters and started using Roman letters.

John Flamsteed's 1712 catalog used numbers plus constellation name, e.g. 61 Cygni; these are used in the absence of a Bayer designation.

Wilhelm Gliese published a list of nearby stars (1969), which are often more convenient than previous in-depth catalogs— e.g. Gliese 581 is preferred to BD-07° 4003 (from the 19th century Bonner Duchmusterung). Gliese expanded the catalog in 1979 working with Hartmut Jahreiß, which accounts for the GJ names below.

"Wolf" is Max Wolf, who published a list of stars with high proper motion in 1919; "Ross" is Frank Ross, who found hundreds more such stars. Naturally, stars with high proper motion (i.e. that move quickly across the sky) are likely to be nearby. A few stars are named for their discoverer, and again this was largely due to their high proper motion.

It's hard to believe that colonists would actually call their sun "Omicron Two Eridani", so you might think about how they'd rename it.

Known extrasolar planets

This is something new and exciting: in the last fifteen years we've been detecting actual extrasolar planets, more than a thousand by now. Only a few have been imaged, in the infrared; mostly they're detected by observing tiny discrepancies in the star's radial velocity (movement toward or away from us), which itself is observed from the spectral lines in the star's spectogram. A fair number have also been found by transits— i.e. by the temporary dimming of the star when the planet passes in front of it.

Both methods are skewed toward finding gas giants in very close orbits— hot Jovians. They orbit at closer than 0.5 AU and as close as 0.015 AU, and are tidally locked; compare Jupiter's 5.2 AU. They're believed to have formed farther away and migrated to their present position; intriguingly, this process may not prevent formation of a terrestrial planet in the habitable zone later, and indeed may make it more water-rich due to the gas giant dragging in material from the outer system.

All but 50 of the known exoplanets have a mass at least 10 times that of the Earth, and many outmass Jupiter. (Jupiter's mass is 318 times Earth's.) Many of them, surprisingly, have high orbital eccentricity, and this is also bad news for stable orbits for terrestrial planets.

I've noted stars with known exoplanets, but at this point it's not really possible to detect terrestrial planets in the habitable zone... which is good news for the sf writer as you can plonk them where you like.

The sf convention has been to number planets outward from the sun with Roman numerals— e.g. τ Ceti IV. This however is only suitable if you know all the planets; astronomers presently number exoplanets in order of discovery, with lowercase letters starting with b— e.g. τ Ceti b. Again, once people are living in the system they're going to rename them.

Distances between stars

Distances to Sol are given below, but how do you find distances between other stars? The fastest way is to ask WolframAlpha. For instance, paste in from Epsilon Eridani to Procyon and you'll get 11.47 ly.

Measurements and caveats

Mass and luminosity are reported as compared to the sun. E.g. a mass of 1.1 means that the star is 1.1 times as massive as the sun.

Years always refers to Earth years, and an AU is an astronomical unit, the distance from the Earth to the sun. Ly are of course light-years.

A rough-and-ready formula for the habitable zone is to take the square root of the luminosity, and take 95% of this figure as the inner limit and 137% as the outer limit. Where I've provided a figure, however, it's from the neckbeards at SolStation.

Binary stars often have very eccentric orbits, so average separation is misleading. I've provided the range where it's available.


The diagram shows the sun's radiation emission by wavelength. It emits most of its light in the visible spectrium... this is no coincidence; of course animals evolved to make use of the most abundant frequencies. The peak is in the green area, but the overall light is white. The sun's disk looks yellow to red in the sky due to atmospheric scattering.

Other stars have different emission spectra. A and B stars peak in the ultraviolet; M stars peak in the infrared. We classify them, however, according to their emission of visible light. To the eye, a (sufficiently bright) A star is white to bluish white; F is white; G is yellowish white; K is yellow-orange, and M is orange-red. The traditional color descriptions are exaggerated.

The middle number of the spectral class is a detailed classification— e.g. the sun's G2 means it's 0.2 along the G portion of the temperature scale— it's a fairly hot G star. The last portion gives the luminosity class; most of the stars here are V for main sequence, and a few are IV for subgiants. There are a couple of VI subdwarfs.


Within five parsecs

These 46 systems are found in a sphere of 523 cubic parsecs.

α Centauri

Distance 4.37 ly
Type G2V   K1V   M5.5Ve
Abs Magn 4.385.71 15.49
Mass 1.11.52 .12
Luminosity    1.52.91 .0017

Also known as Rigil Kentaurus (from Arabic Rijl Qanṭūris 'tail of the centaur') α Centauri is the third brightest star in our sky and dear to sf fans as it's the closest system. As it's far south in our sky, many sf fans have never seen it. The Chinese name is Nán Mén Èr (second star of the southern gate).

It's a triple system. A is much like the sun but slightly larger and brighter; B is smaller. A and B have an orbital period of 80 years, and vary between 11 and 36 AU. That's a little close for comfort. The habitable zone is calculated at ~ 1.25 AU for A, 0.7 AU for B; not much farther out, orbits may be unstable. No planets have yet been detected.

From a planet orbiting A, B would move through the sky in the course of its own year, with an increment due to the 80-year AB revolution. B would appear from -18 to -21 absolute magnitude, much dimmer than we see our sun (-26.7) but much brighter than the moon (-12.5).

A red dwarf, Proxima Centauri, orbits the pair .21 ly (15000 AU) away with a period of over 100,000 years; as it's presently closer to us it's the closest star, though really if you're planning a trip to Proxima you'd might as well take the time to visit the primary. It's so dim that it'd only be fifth magnitude from the vicinity of A.

From α Centauri, the sun would have an apparent magnitude of 0.5, about like Betelguese or Procyon from Earth. If you want to make this calculation for any star, use the formula

4.8 + 5 * ((log10 (d/3.26))-1)

where d is the distance in ly. To calculate for other stars, replace the sun's absolute magnitude 4.8 with the star's.

From α Centauri, our sun would appear near the W of Cassiopeia, indicated with a + on the mini-map. To find the sun's location from other stars, check the map: reverse the declination (e.g. α Centauri's -61° becomes +61°) and add 12 hours to the right ascension (e.g. α Centauri's 14h39m becomes 2h39m).


Distance 8.58 ly
Type A1V   DA2
Abs Magn 1.4211.34
Mass 2.02.98
Luminosity    25.4.026

Sirius is the brightest star in the sky; though it's a respectable A star, it's mostly just really close. (Compare, say, Deneb, an A2 Ia star with an absolute magnitude of -7.0, 2200 times brighter than Sirius, but 1400 ly away.) Its Arabic name is aš-Ši`rā; the Chinese call it Tiānláng 'sky wolf', the Persians Tir, the Hebrews Sihor.

Sirius has a tiny white dwarf companion— half the mass of the primary, but the size of the Earth. White dwarfs are more or less dead stars, the carbon-oxygen residue of a red giant, with no more fusion, just a glow provided by heat. (However, B is brighter than A in X-rays.) The two stars take 50 years to orbit each other, ranging from 8 to 31 AU apart, which would probably make planetary orbits unstable (and indeed no planets are known in the system).

Worse news for colonists: the system is just 200 to 300 million years old, far too little for any planet to develop an ecosphere. (Plus B was a red giant as recently as 120 million years ago.)

ε Eridani

Distance 10.52 ly  
Type K2V
Abs Magn 6.19
Mass .82
Luminosity    .34

ε Eridani is under a billion years old, so no planets with ecospheres are likely. However, it's the closest star with a (fairly likely) known planet: a Jupiter-sized gas giant about 3.4 AU from the star. This and the planet's high orbital eccentricity probably are not good news for terrestrial planets in the habitable zone (at .5 to 1 AU).

Perhaps more interesting, the system seems to have two asteroid belts, one at 3 AU and one at 20 AU.


Distance 11.41 ly
Type F5V-IV   DA
Abs Magn 2.6612.98
Mass 1.42.602
Luminosity    7.73.00055
Procyon has a white dwarf companion, ranging from 8.9 to 21 AU away and orbiting in 41 years. This may make orbits unstable in the habitable zone around at about 2.7 AU; also, the system is only about 3 billion years old.

It's name is Greek for 'before the dog', as it rises before Sirius. The Mandarin name is nánhésān 'southern river #3'.

Luyten's Star is just 1.11 ly away.

61 Cygni

• 61 CYGNI
Distance 11.36 ly
Type K5.0V   K7.0V
Abs Magn 7.498.31
Mass .70.63
Luminosity    .215.15

61 Cygni is a double system of two cozy K stars, separated by 44 to 124 AU and orbiting in 659 years. That's far enough apart that terrestrial planets should have no problems; the habitable zone for A is at about 0.46 AU. In addition the system is around six billion years old, so the system is our first good candidate for an ecosphere.

The system is known for its high proper motion. It'll be just 9 ly away in AD 20,000 and thereafter will recede again.

ε Indi

• ε INDI
Distance 11.82 ly
Type K5Ve   T1.0V   T6.0Ve
Abs Magn 6.8925+ 25+
Mass .762- -
Luminosity    .22- -

ε Indi is a promising K star, with a habitable zone around .61 AU. The system is about six billon years old, plenty of time for an ecosphere to form.

The star is orbited by a pair of brown dwarfs at about 1450 AUs, themselves separated by about 2 AU. The biggest of them is 40 to 60 times the mass of Jupiter.

τ Ceti

• τ CETI
Distance 11.9 ly  
Type G8Vp
Abs Magn 5.68
Mass .78
Luminosity    .52

τ Ceti is a single G star, so you should feel at home already. It's probably 6 billion years old; its habitable zone is roughly at .7 AU.

It has an unusually large cloud of asteroids and comets— more than ten time the mass of the sun's. This may mean a much higher level of bombardment than in our system.

It has a fairly awful traditional name, Durre Menthor, from Arabic al-durr' al-manthūr 'the scattered pearls of the broken necklace'. Its Mandarin name is Tiāncāng wǔ 'Sky granary #5'.

Groombridge 1618

Distance 15.85 ly  
Type K7.0V
Abs Magn 8.16
Mass .67
Luminosity    .046

As Groombridge 1618 is fast-rotating and subject to flares, it may be relatively young, a billion years old or so. The flares, comparatively much larger than the sun's, could make close planets a bit uncomfortable.

Red dwarfs

Has anyone named one of these Trumpkin?
Name Distance    Type Abs Magn
Barnard's Star 5.96 ly M4.0Ve 13.22
Wolf 359 7.78 ly M6.0V 16.55
Lalande 21185 8.29 ly M2.0V 10.44
Luyten 726-8 8.73 ly M5.5Ve / M6.0Ve 15.40 / 15.85
Ross 154 9.68 ly M3.5Ve 13.07
Ross 248 10.32 ly M5.5Ve 14.79
Lacaille 9352 10.42 ly M1.5Ve 9.75
Ross 128 10.92 ly M4.0Vn 13.51
EZ Aquarii 11.27 ly M5.0Ve / M / M 15.64 / 15.58 / 16.34
Struve 2398 11.52 ly M3.0V / M3.5V 11.16 / 11.95
Groombridge 34 11.62 ly M1.5V / M3.5V 10.32 / 13.30
DX Cancri 11.83 ly M6.5Ve 16.98
GJ 1061 11.99 ly M5.5V 15.26
YZ Ceti 12.13 ly M4.5V 14.17
Luyten's Star 12.37 ly M3.5Vn 11.97
Teegarden's star 12.51 ly M6.5V 17.22
SCR 1845-6357 12.57 ly M8.5V / T6 19.41 / ?
Kapteyn's Star 12.78 ly M1.5V 10.87
Lacaille 8760 12.87 ly M0.0V 8.69
Kruger 60 13.15 ly M3.0V / M4.0V 11.76 / 13.38
Ross 614 13.35 ly M4.5V / M5.5V 13.09/ 16.17
Wolf 1061 13.82 ly M3.0V 11.93
Van Maanen's star 14.07 ly MD27 14.21
Gliese 1 14.23 ly M3.0V 10.35
Wolf 424 14.31 ly M5.5V / M7Ve 14.97 / 14.96
TZ Arietis 14.51 ly M4.5V 14.03
GJ 687 14.79 ly M3.0V 10.89
LHS 292 14.81 ly M6.5V 17.32
GJ 674 14.81 ly M3.0V 11.09
GJ 1245 14.81 ly M5.5V / M6.0V / M5.5 15.17 / 15.72 / 18.46
GJ 440 15.06 ly DQ6 13.18
GJ 1002 15.31 ly M5.5V 15.40
Gliese 876 15.34 ly M3.5V 11.81
LHS 288 15.61 ly M5.5V 15.51
GJ 412 15.83 ly M1.0V / M5.5V 10.34 / 16.05
AD Leonis 15.94 ly M3.0V 10.87
GJ 832 16.09 ly M3.0V 10.20

Brown dwarfs

I've listed these separately, as they're arguably not stars at all, but overgrown, independent gas giants. They're too small to sustain hydrogen fusion, so they don't emit significant heat or visible light. However, they can have planets of their own.
Name Distance    Type Abs Magn
WISE 1541-2250 9.4 ly Y 21.2
UGPS J072227.51-054031.2 13 ly T10 16.52
DEN 1048-3956 13.17 ly M8.5V 19.37
WISE J1741+2553 15 ly T8 14
LP 944-020 16.20 ly M9.0V 20.02
DEN 0255-4700 16.20 ly L7.5V 24.44

Out to 10 parsecs

A sphere of 20 parsecs has a volume of 4189 cubic parsecs, so this tranche contains about 320 systems, the vast majority of them uninteresting red dwarfs. So I'll just give some information about the brighter stars.

ο2 Eridani

       ο2 Eridani is a promising system, with a habitable zone around .7 AU.

White dwarf B and red dwarf C orbit each other a comfortable 400 AU away from A (and 35 AU from each other); from A they'd be a bright -8 and -6 magnitude, several times brighter than Venus.

Distance 16.45 ly
Type K1Ve   DA4   M4.5eV
Abs Magn 5.9211.01 12.66
Mass .84.50 .20
Luminosity    .46.013 .008

70 Ophiuchi

       A binary system, with a separation of 11.4 to 35 AUs. The habitable zone would be about .66 AU.
Distance 16.6 ly
Type K1Ve K5Ve  
Abs Magn 5.717.48
Mass .92.70
Luminosity    .43.08


       Altair has such a high rotation rate (1/4 day) that it's noticeably squashed: its equatorial diameter is 20% higher than its polar diameter.

Again, A stars are usually young, so probably no ecospheres here.

Its Chinese name is Qiānniú xīng 'cowherd star'.

Distance 16.8 ly
Type A7IV-V
Abs Magn 2.21
Mass 1.79
Luminosity    10.6

σ Draconis

       σ Draconis has a beautiful traditional name, Alsafi. It's a nice old star, ready for your aliens or colonists to move in.
Distance 18.8 ly
Type G9V
Abs Magn 5.87
Mass .87
Luminosity    .43

Gliese 570

• GLIESE 570
       Also known as 33 G. Librae. The primary is orbited at a comfortable distance of 190 AU by a pair of red dwarfs, less than 1 AU apart. If that weren't enough, there's a brown dwarf 1500 AU out.
Distance 19.2 ly
Type K4V   M1V   M3V
Abs Magn 6.79~ 11 11.05
Mass .80.55 .35
Luminosity    .16.02 .003

η Cassiopeiae

       η Cassiopeiae is a binary system; the stars orbit from 36 to 107 AU apart. A's habitable zone is estimated to run from .9 to 1.8 AU. It has a traditional name of Achird. Strangely, A is smaller than Sol but more luminious.
Distance 24.6 ly
Type G0V   K7V
Abs Magn 4.598.64
Mass .95.62
Luminosity    1.29.06

36 Ophiuchi

       The two very similar primaries have a very eccentric mutual orbit, ranging from 7 to 169 AU. The habitable zone round either star would be about .5 to 1.0 AU. This is probably a young system, under 2 billion years.

In addition there's an orange-red dwarf about 5000 AU away— .08 ly. Personally I'd put my planet there, at .5 AU, where the wacky central stars won't destabilize it.

Distance 19.5 ly
Type K0V   K1V   K5V
Abs Magn 5.295.33 6.34
Mass .85.85 .71
Luminosity    .28.27 .09

Gliese 783

• GLIESE 783
       Gliese 783, or J. Herschel 5173, is a binary system; average separation is 43 AU. It's likely to be more than six billion years old. A's habitable zone is from .46 to .90 AU.

It's zipping toward us and will be 6.7 ly away in 40,000 years.

Distance 19.62 ly
Type K2V   M3.5V  
Abs Magn 6.4012.6
Mass .82.20
Luminosity    .23.000077

82 G. Eridani

       82 G. Eridani is a quite sunlike star, at least six billion years old. The habitable zone would be from .56 to 1.1 AU.

There's a very recent (Aug 2011) report that no less than three big terrestrial planets orbit very close to the star, all at less than 0.25 AU (closer than Mercury is to the sun) and all between 2.4 and 4.8 Earths in mass.

Distance 19.77 ly
Type G8V
Abs Magn 5.35
Mass .97
Luminosity    .62

δ Pavonis

       δ Pavonis is about the size of the sun, is a single star, and at least six billion years old, so it's a good candidate for planets with ecospheres. Not for terribly long, perhaps; it may be at the subgiant phase, exhausting its hydrogen before starting on the helium and becoming a red giant.
Distance 19.92 ly
Type G8IV
Abs Magn 4.62
Mass .991
Luminosity    1.18

Gliese 892

• GLIESE 892
       No extra info here, but there's no showstoppers at least.
Distance 21.3 ly
Type K3V
Abs Magn 6.50
Mass .81
Luminosity    .21

ξ Boötis

       ξ Boötis is a binary system. Its chromospheric activity may peg it as an infant star (60 million years old), but the lack of a dust disk suggests an age of at least a billion years. A's luminosity varies by about 3% in a ten-day cycle.

The two stars are separated by 16.5 to 51 AU. There are reports that B may have a companion several times the mass of Jupiter.

Distance 21.9 ly
Type G8Ve   K4Ve
Abs Magn 5.54 7.81
Mass .9.7
Luminosity    .49.061

Gliese 667

• GLIESE 667
       The two, rather similar main stars have a very eccentric orbit, separated from 5 to 20 AU— not considered good for stable planets. A red dwarf orbits the pair between 56 and 215 AU.

There's a large terrestrial planet closely orbiting C at a mere 0.05 AU, with at least 5.7 times the mass of the Earth.

Distance 22.7 ly
Type K3V   K5V   M2V
Abs Magn 7.07 8.02 11.03
Mass .75.65 .38
Luminosity    .13.05 .003

β Hydri

       β Hydri is the closest bright star to the south celestial pole— though it's still 12° distant. It's likely to be over 6 billion years, and it may be a subgiant (heading for the red giant phase).

It may have a gas giant of about four times Jupiter's mass.

The habitable zone would be at around 1.9 AU. I'd just like to note that this is where I placed Okura.

Distance 24.4 ly
Type G2IV
Abs Magn 3.43
Mass 1.1
Luminosity    3.53

107 Piscium

       107 Piscium is a bit dimmer than the sun, about six billion years old. The habitable zone would be around .62 AU.
Distance 24.4 ly
Type K1V
Abs Magn 5.87
Mass .83
Luminosity    .46

μ Cassiopeiae

       The two components are separated by 3.3 to 12 AU.

μ Cassiopeiae shares the name Marfak with θ Cassiopeiae which is in almost the same location in our sky; but since θ is 137 ly away, I say screw it and use the nice name for μ.

Distance 24.6 ly
Type G5VIp M5V
Abs Magn 5.7811.6
Mass .60.17
Luminosity    .46.001

TW Piscis Austrini

       TW Piscis Austrini varies in luminosity by about 1% in a ten-day cycle, and is also subject to dramatic flares.

It's only a light year from Fomalhaut.

Distance 24.9 ly
Type K5Vp
Abs Magn 7.07
Mass .725
Luminosity    .12


       Fomalhaut is a bright A star, only a few hundred million years old. Its name is from Arabic fam al-ħūt 'mouth of the fish'; the Mandarin name is běi luò shī mén 'northern military gate'.

Fomalhaut has one of the few exoplanets which has been detected visually, a gas giant with a mass of 0.5 to 2 times that of Jupiter, orbiting at 133 AU, lying just within a massive dust belt.

Distance 25 ly
Type A3V
Abs Magn 1.73
Mass 2.1
Luminosity    17.7

Gliese 673

• GLIESE 673
       No exciting facts.
Distance 25.2 ly
Type K5-7V
Abs Magn 7.65
Mass .7
Luminosity    ?


       Vega is the brightest star (in absolute terms) on our list. It's about half a billion years old, and rotating so quickly that it's squashed; the equatorial diameter is 23% larger than the polar. It's moving closer and in 210,000 years it'll be the brightest star in the sky. It was the northern pole star around 12000 BC and will be again in 12000 years.

The name derives from Arabic wāqi` 'falling [vulture]'; the Chinese name is Zhī nǚ 'weaver girl', and the Hindu name is Abhijit.

Distance 25.3 ly
Type A0V
Abs Magn .58
Mass 2.135
Luminosity    37

π3 Orionis

       π3 Orionis is larger than the sun, and has the traditional name Tabit.
Distance 26.2 ly
Type F6V
Abs Magn 3.65
Mass 1.236
Luminosity    3

χ Draconis

       χ Draconis is a binary system, about 8 billion years old, with a separation of just .6 to 1.4 AU. The habitable zone is unfortunately unstable for planets.
Distance 24.4 ly
Type F7 Vvar K0V
Abs Magn 4.16?
Mass 1.03.75
Luminosity    1.86.29

Gliese 884

• GLIESE 884
       With its low luminosity, Gliese 884's habitable zone would be centered at around .2 AU. One observatory has classed it as M1 instead.
Distance 26.6 ly
Type K7+Vk
Abs Magn 8.34
Mass .62
Luminosity    .04

p Eridani

       p Eridani is a double star, with a separation of 30 to 98 AU, which is probably enough to allow either of these stars to have a terrestrial planet.

I placed my planet Maraille here.

Distance 26.3 ly
Type K2V K3V
Abs Magn 6.256.35
Mass .88.86
Luminosity    .28.25

ζ Ursae Majoris

       ζ Ursae Majoris is quite a system: the two primary stars, both very sunlike, are separated by 12.5 to 40 AU, and each seems to have a very dim red dwarf companion. A is separated from Ab by .8 to 2.6 AU, while B is separated from Bb by just .06 AU. The system has the traditional name Alula Australis. The companions are not good news for terrestrial planets.
Distance 27.3 ly
Type G0Ve G5Ve
Abs Magn 4.715.23
Mass 1.05.90
Luminosity    1.1.67


       Chara (or β Canum Venaticorum) is like a slightly larger sun, and is considered an excellent candidate for life.
Distance 27.4 ly
Type G0V
Abs Magn 4.65
Mass 1.025
Luminosity    1.15

μ Herculis

       μ Herculis is a multiple system. B and C are a pair of red dwarfs separated by 9.4 to 13.5 AU, and these in turn are separated from A by about 286 AU. A also seems to have a dwarf companion at about 17 AU.

A's habitable zone is optimum for a planet at about 1.6 AU— but it seems to be heating up into a subgiant phase, which suggests that any planet which developed life is now toast. A great place for a sentient species to have changed planets...

Distance 24.4 ly
Type G5IV M3.5V M4V
Abs Magn 3.8010.73 11.18
Mass 1.1.31 .31
Luminosity    2.4.005 .003

61 Virginis

       61 Virginis is quite sunlike, and no less than three supersized terrestrial panets have been reported: a 5-Earther at .05 AU and two 20+-Earthers (i.e. Neptune-sized) at .22 and .48 AU.
Distance 27.8 ly
Type G5V
Abs Magn 5.07
Mass .95
Luminosity    .85

ζ Tucanae

       ζ Tucanae is slightly larger than the sun, and is estimated at 3 billion years old.

I placed New Bharat here.

Distance 28 ly
Type F9.5V
Abs Magn 4.56
Mass .99
Luminosity    1.3

χ1 Orionis

       χ1 Orionis is quite sunlike, but its dwarf companion at 3.5 to 9.3 AU is liable to mess up orbits for terrestrial planets.
Distance 28.3 ly
Type G0V M6
Abs Magn 4.67
Mass 1.15
Luminosity    1.08?

Gliese 250

• GLIESE 250
       Gliese 250 is a binary system, with a relatively large separation averaging 500 AU. The habitable zone for A centers around .4 AU, about the distance of Mercury (which is not tidally locked, but rotates very slowly).
Distance 28.4 ly
Type K3V M2.5
Abs Magn 6.88?
Mass .80.50
Luminosity    .15.00058

41 G. Arae

• 41 G. ARAE
       41 G. Arae is a binary star; its red dwarf companion is in a highly eccentric orbit averaging at least 100 AU. A's habitable zone would be centered around .64 AU.
Distance 28.7 ly
Type G8V K7Vp
Abs Magn 6.28?
Mass .81?
Luminosity    .42?

HR 1614

• HR 1614
       HR 1614 is a spectroscopic binary, which generally means that the two stars are too close to be visually distinguished. We don't seem to have much info on the companion. The system is about two billion years old.
Distance 28.4 ly
Type K3V ?
Abs Magn 6.49
Mass .845
Luminosity    .21

HR 7722

• HR 7722
       HR 7722, also known as Gliese 875, is about 8 billion years old, and its habitable zone is at about .6 AU.

Two planets have been detected, both more than 20 Earths in mass (i.e. Neptune-sized)— one at .32 AU and one at 1.2 AU. Interestingly, the outer planet's orbit intersects the habitable zone... perhaps its satellites are habitable.

Distance 28.8 ly
Type K0Vv
Abs Magn 6.0
Mass .78
Luminosity    .35

γ Leporis

       γ Leporis A is a bit brighter than the sun, probably about 3 billion years old. Its habitable zone would center around 1.6 AU. Its companion is about 860 AU distant.
Distance 29.3 ly
Type F6V K2V
Abs Magn 3.83?
Mass 1.23.63
Luminosity    2.6.25

δ Eridani

       δ Eridani is also known as Rana, the Frog. It's about 8 billion years old, but it is now fusing helium on its way to red giant status. This would be bad news for any planet that grew an ecosphere during its Main Sequence eons, but good news for a planet in the present habitable zone centered at 1.7 AU.
Distance 29.5 ly
Type K0IV
Abs Magn 3.75
Mass 1.2
Luminosity    2.8

Groombridge 1830

       Groombridge 1830 is smaller than the sun, but seems to be subject to superflares millions of times greater than our sun's flares. Dress accordingly— light cottons and knits. The star seems to be a halo star, ten billion years old; because it's not moving with the rotating disk of the galaxy it has a huge proper motion.
Distance 29.9 ly
Type G8Vp
Abs Magn 6.62
Mass .66
Luminosity    .19

β Comae Berenices

       β Comae Berenices is a bit brighter than the sun, and is perhaps 4 billion years old.
Distance 29.8 ly
Type G0V
Abs Magn 4.45
Mass 1.15
Luminosity    1.42

κ1 Ceti

• κ1 CETI
       κ1 Ceti is a little dimmer than the sun, and seems to be young— under a billion years— and subject to superflares.
Distance 29.8 ly
Type G5Vv
Abs Magn 5.03
Mass .9
Luminosity    .85

γ Pavonis

       γ Pavonis is a little brighter (but smaller) than the sun, and may be over 9 billion years old. Its habitable zone would center around 1.2 AU.
Distance 30.1 ly
Type F6V
Abs Magn 4.4
Mass .8
Luminosity    1.5

HR 4523

• HR 4523
       HR 4523 A has the same stellar class as the sun, and is at least as old, both good characteristics for planets with ecospheres. It has a red dwarf companion currently 211 AU away.

It has a Neptune-like planet (16 times Earth's mass) at about .46 AU, while its habitable zone would be centered at 1.1 AU.

Distance 30.1 ly
Type G2V M4V
Abs Magn 5.06?
Mass .89.07
Luminosity    .00007

61 Ursae Majoris

       61 Ursae Majoris is a young star, probably about a billion years old. It's a good candidate for planets but not ecospheres.
Distance 31.1 ly
Type G8V
Abs Magn 5.41
Mass .85
Luminosity    .66

HR 4458

• HR 4458
       HR 4458 is a binary system, with an average separation of 80 AU. A's habitable zone centers around .56 AU.
Distance 31.1 ly
Type K0V
Abs Magn 6.0915
Mass .87.08
Luminosity    .31.000076

Gliese 638

• GLIESE 638
       No extra info available.
Distance 31.9 ly
Type K7V
Abs Magn 8.15
Mass ?
Luminosity    ?

12 Ophiuchi

       12 Ophiuchi is lightly variable. The habitable zone would be from .6 to 1.1 AU.
Distance 31.9 ly
Type K2V
Abs Magn 5.82
Mass .83
Luminosity    .39

HR 511

HR 511
       HR 511, also called Gliese 75, is somewhat dimmer than the sun, and about the same age. The habitable zone would center around .7 AU.
Distance 32.8 ly
Type K0V
Abs Magn 5.64
Mass .85
Luminosity    .53

Further out

For stars beyond 10 parsecs, see this Wikipedia page, or SolStation.