eclipsing binary


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Related to eclipsing binary: spectroscopic binary, Binary star system
Schematic of orbits and light curve of eclipsing binaryclick for a larger image
Schematic of orbits and light curve of eclipsing binary

eclipsing binary

A binary star whose orbital plane is orientated such that each component is totally or partly eclipsed by the other during each orbital period. The effect observed is a periodic decrease in the light from the system (see illustration). The deeper minimum corresponds to the eclipse of the brighter star. The light curve gives the period of revolution, and from the depths and shapes of the minima it is possible to estimate the inclination of the orbital plane. The duration of the eclipses compared to the time between eclipses indicates the radii of the stars in terms of the distance between them. If the system is also a double-lined spectroscopic binary the individual masses and radii of the stars can be calculated.

Eclipsing binaries tend to be composed of large stars with small orbits and therefore the majority are close binaries (see binary star). In these systems mass transfer affects the stars' evolution, leading to three main classes of eclipsing binaries. W Ursae Majoris stars are in contact. In W Serpentis stars one component is transferring mass rapidly to the other. In these two classes the stars are distorted into ellipsoids, an effect that shows in the light curve. Algol variables represent a later stage; mass transfer is almost complete and the stars are nearly spherical.

eclipsing binary

[i′klips·iŋ′bī‚nər·ē]
References in periodicals archive ?
Using the freely available eclipsing binary star model StarLight Pro (http://www.
Modelling using an eclipsing binary model such as StarLight Pro moves one step beyond the lightcurve and provides an insight into the possible physical nature of binary star systems.
Prozesky, did a project on eclipsing binary stars under the supervision of Smits.
For eclipsing binary stars the recommended minimum interval can be as little as 30, 20 or even 10 minutes during eclipse, depending upon the rapidity of the fade and rise.
This was clearly an eclipsing binary, but what type of stars were they?
In 2011 a special effort will be made to update the charts and sequences for the most popular stars on the Eclipsing Binary programme.
Finally, the variable may be an eclipsing binary or ellipsoidal variable seen at low inclination.
If it were an eclipsing binary it is not clear what could cause similar distortions in both halves of the lightcurve.
We have been encouraging members to observe some of the eclipsing binary systems on our list which have been neglected for years.
For the eclipsing binary U Cep, which fades to a magnitude of around 9.
Tony was at one time Eclipsing Binary Secretary of the BAA Variable Star Section, and is a past Director of the VSS of the Society for Popular Astronomy, a post he held for many years.
PSR J1723-2837: An eclipsing binary radio millisecond pulsar.