What Does an Eclipsing Binary System Consist Of?


Quick Answer

An eclipsing binary system consists of two stars revolving around each other such that when viewed from earth, they pass in front of each other in turns, thus eclipsing one another from earth's view.

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Binary star systems consist of two stars revolving around a common center of mass. Most stars are thought to be a part of a binary star system or a larger multiple star system, rather than existing as isolated stars. Binary star systems were discovered because some stars were observed to have an apparent change in the magnitude of their brightness. These were later described as eclipsing binaries. These binary systems have their plane of revolution at such an angle to earth that the stars can hide one another from earth's view. When both stars are visible, the intensity of light from the system peaks to a maximum. When one star comes in between earth and the second star, the second star is eclipsed. In a solar eclipse, the moon causes an apparent decrease in the sun's brightness. Similarly, there is an apparent decrease in the brightness of the eclipsing binary system. As the eclipse progresses, the brightness of the binary system gradually increases, and the cycle is repeated.

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