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Binary Star

Types of Binary Star Systems

  • Visual binary
    • A binary star system where both stars can be seen with a telescope
  • Spectroscopic binary

Masses of Binary Star Systems

  • Can be estimated using Isaac Newton's reformulation of Johannes Kepler's third law of planetary motion
    • If two objects are in mutual revolution, then the period (PP) with which they go around each other is related to the semi-major axis (DD) of the orbit of one with the respect to the other
    • D3=(M1+M2)P2D^3 = (M_1 + M_2)P^2
      • DD is in astronomical units
      • PP is measured in years
      • M1+M2M_1 + M_2 is the sum of the masses of the two stars in units of the Sun's mass

Star Astronomy