light curve

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light curve

A graph of the brightness of a variable star or other variable object plotted against time, the brightness usually being expressed in terms of apparent or absolute magnitude. Different types of variable star can be distinguished by the shape of the curve; the period of the variable is one complete oscillation in brightness. The light curve of an eclipsing binary has two minima: a shallower one (the secondary minimum) and a deeper one (the primary minimum), which occurs when the brighter star is eclipsed. The minimum has a flat base if the eclipse is total or annular.

light curve

[′līt ‚kərv]
(astrophysics)
A graph showing the variations in brightness of a celestial object; the stellar magnitude is usually shown on the vertical axis, and time is the horizontal coordinate.
References in periodicals archive ?
Researchers studying asteroid light curves need accurate calibration stars across wide fields since their targets move from night to night.
Research projects that need more amateur attention, professionals said, include asteroid light curves and fast-cadence photometry of old novae and other cataclysmic variable stars.
It's not an overstatement to say that during the past decade, studying asteroid light curves has sparked a revolution in our thinking about the evolution of these small bodies.
Double dispositions have been offered before to explain similarly complex asteroid light curves, including that of 3671 Dionysus, another Earth-crosser (S&T: December 1997, page 20).