The nearest star to the solar system is the Sun, but the nearest star to the solar system excluding the Sun is Proxima Centauri. The Sun is located about 93 million miles away from Earth, while Proxima Centauri lies about 4.22 light years away.
Because the Sun is so close, it is the star that provides heat and light to the inhabitants of Earth. Earth and its fellow planets orbit around the Sun as part of a solar system within the Milky Way galaxy.
Proxima Centauri forms part of a star system called Alpha Centauri within the same galaxy. Alpha Centauri looks bright and is often considered a single star, but it is made of three separate stars. Proxima Centauri is the dimmest but also the closest of the three.