Glossary term: Binary Star

Description: A binary star is a system of two stars that orbit around a common center of gravity, and thus can be said to be bound together by a force of gravity. Their orbits are elliptical or circular and follow Kepler's laws of motion. More than half, if not the majority, of stars in the Milky Way are binary stars or part of several more complex systems that, due to their enormous distance from Earth, appear to the human eye as a single star. Binaries can be classified into a number of subclasses according to their optical properties, namely visual binaries, spectroscopic binaries, eclipsing binaries, non-eclipsing binaries that can be detected through photometry, and astrometric binaries.

Related Terms:

See this term in other languages

Term and definition status: This term and its definition is still awaiting approval

The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".