What are binary stars
The term binary star is a misnomer because it is actually a star system made up of usually two stars that orbit around one center of mass — where the mass is most concentrated. A binary star is not to be confused with two stars that appear close together to the naked what are binary stars from Earth, but in reality are very far apart — Carl Sagan far! Astrophysicists find binary systems to be quite useful in determining the mass of the individual stars involved.
The data collected from binary stars allows astrophysicists to extrapolate the relative mass of similar single stars. There are several subcategories of binary stars, classified by their visual properties including eclipsing binaries, visual binaries, spectroscopic binaries and astrometric binaries. Eclipsing binary stars are those whose orbits form a horizontal line from the point of observation; essentially, what the viewer sees is a double eclipse along a single plane; Algol for example.
A visual binary system is a system in which what are binary stars separate stars are visible through a telescope that has an appropriate resolving power. Spectroscopic binary stars are those systems in which the stars are very close and orbiting what are binary stars quickly. These systems are determined by the presence of spectral lines — lines of color that are anomalies in an otherwise continuous spectrum and are one of the only ways of determining whether a second star is present.
It is possible for a what are binary stars star system to be both a visual and a spectroscopic binary if the stars are far enough apart and the telescope being used is of a high enough resolution. We have written many articles about binary stars on Universe Today. Want more information on stars? We have recorded several episodes of Astronomy Cast about stars.
Here are two that you might find helpful: He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. You must be logged in to post a comment. Universe Today Space and astronomy news. Leave a Reply Cancel reply You must be logged in to post a comment.
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