Dictionary

Binary (star)

Binary (star)


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Double star or binary star It is a couple of stars that are held together by gravitation and revolve around their common center of mass. Orbital periods, ranging from minutes in the case of very close doubles to thousands of years in the case of distant couples, depend on the separation between the stars and their respective masses.

The observation of double star orbits is the only direct method that astronomers have to weigh the stars. In the case of very close couples, their gravitational attraction can distort the shape of the stars, and it is possible for gas to flow from one star to another in a process called mass transfer.

Studies show that most of the stars we see in the sky are double or even multiple. Occasionally, one of the stars of a double system may hide the other when viewed from Earth, which results in an eclipsing binary. In most cases, it is believed that the components of a double system have originated simultaneously, although other times, a star can be captured by the gravitational field of another in areas of high stellar density, such as star clusters, giving place to double system.

The eclipsing binaries are stars whose orbits, with respect to the terrestrial visual, are oriented in such a way that their components eclipse each other in a periodic way.


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