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Wolf 359

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Wolf 359 is a red dwarf in the constellation Leo first measured in 1919 by Max Wolf. About 7.8 light years from the Earth, it has an apparent magnitude of 13.5 and can only be seen with a large telescope.

Wolf 359 is one of the nearest stars to the Solar System. Only the Alpha Centauri system (including Proxima Centauri), Barnard's Star, and WISE 1049-5319 are closer. It is mentioned in several works of fiction.

Wolf 359 is one of the faintest and lowest-mass stars known. At the light-emitting layer called the photosphere, it has a temperature of about 2,800 K, which is low enough for chemical compounds to form and survive. The absorption lines of compounds such as water and titanium(II) oxide are in the spectrum.[1][2]

The surface has a magnetic field which is stronger than the average magnetic field on the Sun. As a result of magnetic activity caused by convection, Wolf 359 is a flare star that has sudden increases in luminosity for several minutes. These flares give off strong bursts of X-ray and gamma ray radiation. Wolf 359 is a relatively young star with an age of less than a billion years. No companions or disks of debris have been detected in orbit around it.


  1. Rojas-Ayala, Bárbara et al 2012. Metallicity and temperature indicators in M dwarf K-band spectra: testing new and updated calibrations with observations of 133 solar neighborhood M dwarfs. Astrophysical Journal 748 (2): 93. [1]
  2. McLean, Ian S. et al 2003. The NIRSPEC brown dwarf spectroscopic survey. I. low-resolution near-infrared spectra. Astrophysical Journal 596 (1): 561–586. [2]