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Physics LibreTexts

17: Visual Binary Stars

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  • A visual binary is a gravitationally bound system that can be resolved into two stars. These stars are estimated, via Kepler's 3rd law, to have periods ranging from a number of years to thousands of years. A visual binary consists of two stars, usually of a different brightness.

    Thumbnail: Algol B orbits Algol A. This animation was assembled from 55 images of the CHARA interferometer in the near-infrared H-band, sorted according to orbital phase. (CC BY-SA 3.0; Dr. Fabien Baron, Dept. of Astronomy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1090, labels indicating phase added by Stigmatella aurantiaca).