multiple star(redirected from Optical multiple star)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
multiple starA group of two or more stars, such as Epsilon Lyrae, that are held together by their mutual gravitational attraction. Orbital motions within multiple systems are complex. For instance, systems containing two or more close binaries in orbit about each other appear to be quite common. See also binary star.
a system of three to seven stars in close proximity in space, revolving about a common center of mass under the action of gravitational forces. Systems of eight or more stars are generally the nuclei of star clusters. Multiple stars similar to the trapezium of Orion are systems whose components are more or less equidistant from one another. Such multiple stars may be unstable. In some cases, stars located significantly farther from or closer to the system and only projected on it in the sky are ascribed to the multiple system. The components of multiple stars can themselves be close (spectral, eclipsing, or other type) binary stars. In this case, there may prove to be more than seven stars in the system.