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light curveA 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.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006
light curve[′līt ‚kərv]
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.