The fifth nearest star (third nearest star system) to the Sun, after the
Alpha Centauri trinary and Barnard's
Star. Wolf 359 lies in the northern constellation Leo.
Discovered by Max Wolf in 1918, it is an extremely
faint red dwarf that for 25 years was the
least luminous star known. It is also a flare
star with the variable star designation CN Leonis, and in 2001 became
the first star, other than the Sun, to have its corona
registered by near-optical ground-based detection when an emission
line of highly ionized iron (Fe XIII at 3,388 Å) was reported.
| Wolf 359 (center).
Image: ESO Online Digitized Sky Survey
| Wolf 359 lies almost on the ecliptic (red line)
and quite close in the sky to the bright star Regulus. © 2003
In 1997, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in combination with the Faint
Object Spectrograph (FOS) was used to search for faint companions –
faint stellar or large sub-stellar objects, such as brown
dwarfs – around Wolf 359. The images obtained (see above) showed
no such orbiting body as close as 1 astronomical unit (AU), equivalent to
an angular separation of 0.432 arcseconds, from the star.
||7.78 light-years (2.386 pc)
||RA 10h 56m 29.2s,
Dec. +07° 00' 53"
||CN Leonis, GCTP 2553, GJ 406,
G 045-020, LTT 12923, LFT 750,
|Science fiction connections
|In the Star Trek
universe, Wolf 359 was the scene of a battle in 2367 between the Federation
and the Borg. This was depicted in the
Next Generation episode "The Best of Both Worlds".
"Wolf 359" is the title of an episode of the original series of The
Outer Limits in which a scientist creates a miniature version
of a planet going around the star in his own laboratory on Earth.
[Thanks to Ron Kay]
OF STAR TREK