What is a Birthday Star? How & Where to find them

A woman sits on a rock overlooking a canyon staring up into the night sky at the Milky Way as one star shines brightest of all.

For most people, birthdays are special days to celebrate the ones we love. It’s a marker, a “welcome to” sign on this journey of life, signifying the completion of another trip around the Sun.

We are all born within a snapshot of time which some believe shapes aspects of who we are and will become, as referenced by astrology with star signs and birth charts.

If the person celebrating this milestone in life is a lover of the night sky, then pointing out their birthday star can be a deep and meaningful experience.

**Use the “Article Contents” menu to quickly find the birthday star chart or any points of interest.

What is a Birthday Star?

A Birthday Star is a star whose light has taken as many years to reach Earth as the number of years in your life.

Space is so incredibly vast it is difficult to imagine or comprehend. The light from a star travels at a constant speed, the speed of light. When we look up into the night sky, the light we see illuminating from stars has traveled great distances, each varying depending on which star we are looking at.

A measurement of distance used when relating to stars is a light-year. One light-year is the time and distance a photon or wavelength of light will have traveled during one year on Earth.

So, for example, if a star is at a distance of 30 light-years from Earth, then its light we see at night has traveled 30 years to be seen by our eyes.

In essence, if today you are 30 years old and gaze upon a star thirty light-years away, that light you are seeing first began its journey in the same year you began your journey of life, your birth.

At that moment, both journeys of light and life intersect amid our wondrous cosmos. This star is your birthday star.

An image of the night sky full of stars and the visible band of the Milky Way galaxy.
The light from a birthday star has finally arrived through an ocean of space.

How and Where to Find Your Birthday Star

On a clear dark night, hundreds to thousands of stars may be visible. So finding a particular star, let alone discerning how far away a star is, can seem almost impossible. Luckily as the saying goes, “There’s an app for that!”

There are online birthday star calculators and many apps to choose from. The one I have and will use as an example in this process of how to calculate a star’s distance and where to find them in the night sky is the app SkySafari 7 Pro for IOS. They offer three different tiers: Basic, Plus, and Pro, all paid subscriptions.

We’ll begin by opening the app and following the steps outlined below.

Step (1)

Image of the homepage for night sky app SkySafari 7 Pro

Open the Sky Safari 7 App and click on the search icon at the bottom right of the screen. An arrow is pointing to the search icon.

Step (2)

Image of the search page for night sky app SkySafari 7 Pro

Once on the next screen, select “Named Stars” to bring up a list of the most well-known, documented stars.

Step (3)

Image of the filter page for night sky app SkySafari 7 Pro

A list of all the stars will appear on this page. Select the filter icon in the top right corner to arrange the stars in order of distance.

Step (4)

Image of the search page for night sky app SkySafari 7 Pro. Selecting the "Distance" filter.

These are the filter options you will see. Next, select the “Distance” option to arrange the stars by the number of light-years from Earth.

Now you have an extensive list of stars, including their distance in light years from Earth, beginning with the nearest star, our Sun.

Proceed down the list to find the star whose distance matches the age of the person identifying their birthday star. There may be multiple selections.

When deciding between multiple birthday stars, choose the brightest star, which will be easier to find. The “Mag” (Apparent Magnitude) number below the birthday star name will let you know its level of brightness in the sky. The lower the number, the brighter the birthday star will be.

Anything higher than a Mag number of “6” will require some form of visual aid, such as a telescope or binoculars. Therefore, selecting a birthday star below a magnitude of six is best when possible.

Remember, each new year brings a new star as you will be a year older. So you’ll repeat these steps, finding your birthday star whose distance reflects your current age welcoming its light from the year of your birth.

You have identified your birthday star! When ready, use any available app, like SkySafari, to locate your star in the night sky.

I have also provided a chart at the end of this article in case you need to find your star quickly.

There are many space and astronomy products marketed as gifts for birthdays. For example, a print of the selected birthday star’s information may be a great gift idea. A birthday star map is also pretty neat but entirely different compared to what a birthday star is.

I’ll explain more about the map next so you will understand the difference.

What is a Birthday Star Map?

A Birthday Star Map is a printed re-creation of how the night sky appeared from the perspective of a birth location, time, and date here on Earth.

These stars are not the birthday stars we discussed earlier but a celestial map of all stars seen in the sky at the specific time, a snapshot of the night sky at birth. Therefore, the stars will all have varying distances.

An image of a birthday star map. Multiple constellations highlighted in the night sky.
Birthday Star Map

Is it possible to Buy or Name a Birthday Star?

It is not possible to purchase, own or name a birthday star. Some astronomy and space products are marketed as gifts selling the idea of naming or owning celestial objects such as stars, but this is more for entertainment value and not officially recognized by the scientific community.

All names of stars and other celestial objects recognized by the scientific community are given their names by the International Astronomical Union.

What is your Birthday Star?

Find your Star in this Birthday Star Chart

This chart was created using the process described earlier in this article.

Since the closest star system beyond our Sun is four light years away (Alpha Centauri), this chart spans age (4) through age (100). Stars were selected with the brightest magnitude rating available for the age group available through this process.

Remember, any star with a magnitude number higher than “6” will require some type of visual aid to be seen, such as binoculars or a telescope.

Once you have found your star, take the name of the star and put it in your star finder app to locate it in the night sky while stargazing.

The darker and clearer the skies, the better for seeing stars. How soon after sunset the stars begin to appear will change throughout the year. So planning a time of the night to view your star will help make it a successful evening. A New Moon or Gibbous Moon is best for dark skies. Learn more about these phases of the Moon here.

Your Age = The age of the person to be matched with the distance of the star
Birthday Star = The name of the Birthday Star
Magnitude = The brightness of the star in the sky. The lower the number the brighter the star will be.
L/Yrs. = The number of light years from Earth
Constellation = The constellation from which the star can be found in

**Barnard’s Star was used in age “6” as it is so close and there was not a better candidate for this group.

4Alpha Centauri1.354.36Centaurus
5Barnard’s Star9.535.96Ophiuchus
6**Barnard’s Star9.535.96Ophiuchus
7Wolf 35913.537.78Leo
8Sirius-1.448.58Canis Major
9Ross 15410.369.68Sagittarius
10Ran (epsilon Eridani)3.7310.5Eridanus
11Procyon0.411.4Canis Minor
12Luyten’s Star9.8412.4Canis Minor
13Wolf 106110.113.8Ophiuchus
14Gl 18.5614.16Sculptor
15Ross 780/
Gl 876
17Wolf 4988.4617.7Bootes
20Gl 7847.9720.11Ophiuchus
21Ross 104/
Gliese 408
22Gl 667A5.9122.31Scorpius
23268 G. Cet/
Gliese 105
24Alula Australis/
Xi Ursae Majoris
3.7824.6Ursa Major
27Chara4.2527.5Canes Venatici
30Gam Pav4.2130.23Pavo
3161 Uma5.3131.2Ursa Minor
32Gl 8038.8132.34Microscopium
34lot Per4.0534.4Perseus
4115Lam Aur4.6941.23Auriga
4358 Eri5.4943Eridanus
45Chalawan5.0345.9Ursa Major
47Talitha3.1447.3Ursa Major
52Gl 8385.5752.2Grus
5346Xi Peg4.253.19Pegasus
5539 Tau5.955.28Taurus
5637 GEM5.7456.27Gemini
5759 Vir5.1957.31Virgo
59Gl 503A4.959.4Centaurus
61Psi Vel3.661.41Vela
62Gl 2625.9362.44Gemini
64Eta Cru4.1464Crux
67Gl 501.24.8567.46Centaurus
68Kap Tuc4.2568.39Tucana
69Gl 773.45.6569.35Sagittarius
7014Zet Lep3.5570.52Lepus
71Head of Hydrus2.8571.8Hydrus
73Eta Sco3.3273.53Scorpius
75Alphecca2.2275Corona Borealis
7637 Cet5.1476.33Cetus
7778lot Leo477.27Leo
78Kaus Borealis2.8278.2Sagittarius
80Megrez3.2980.5Ursa Major
82Alioth1.7582.6Ursa Major
83Phecda2.4383.2Ursa Major
85Mizar3.8585.8Ursa Major
90HR 39915.390.54Hydra
91HR 80275.7691.42Indus
935 Pup5.4893.3Puppis
94Praecipua3.7894.9Leo Minor
9553 Her5.3495.27Hercules
96Deneb Kaitos2.0496.3Cetus
100Omi Gru5.53100.42Grus
Birthday Star Chart – CityAstronomy.com
A Cityastronomy logo of a cityscape under a starry night with the Cityastronomy name worded across the circular picture.
Written by Darin Anthony

Astronomy has peaked my curiosity and imagination from an early age. I am always thrilled to read about the latest galactic discovery or planning my next celestial observation. More about me [..]

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