contact binary


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contact binary

See binary star; equipotential surfaces.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006

contact binary

[′kän‚takt ′bī‚ner·ē]
(astronomy)
A binary system at least one of whose components fills its Roche lobe and in which mass exchange is taking place.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Researchers say that the so-called "contact binary" could help yield clues about how other planets formed.
"Two bodies may be orbiting very close together or even touching - what's known as a close or contact binary - or perhaps they're observing a single body with a large chunk taken out of it."
Follow-up work by Romuald Tylenda (Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center, Poland) and colleagues using archival observations determined that VI309 Sco was likely a contact binary star--paired suns that orbit so close together, they kiss.
Data from the new system revealed the existence of two binary stars, one of which was a so-called contact binary.
"This may be a double object, or 'contact binary,' consisting of two objects that form a single asteroid with a lobed shape," he said.
W Ursae Majoris stars are members of a class of eclipsing variable stars in which the components are of spectral type late A to mid K; though a recent discovery of Koen and Ishihara (2006) suggest a unique contact binary of spectral type "later" than M4.
(If the Earth orbited the sun this quickly, a year would be only a few hours longer than a day.) If two stars are close enough to touch, as these two were, astronomers call those stars a contact binary.
Kam-Ching is recognized as an authority in contact binary systems, and known especially for his discovery of multiple early-type contact systems; he initiated the conferences series.
If the components of these "contact binary asteroids" pull apart but remain gravitationally bound, traveling together as they collide with a planet, they might produce the double craters detected on Earth, the moon, and, most recently, Venus.
Two stars, which are actually a contact binary (two stars that orbit each other, and also share a common atmosphere), about 1,800 light-years away in the Cygnus constellation, will merge and explode around 2022, and the event, which will lead to the formation of a red nova, will be visible to the naked eye when it occurs.