What are Binary Stars?
Most stars are found in groups of stars that are gravitationally bound with each other. The majority of these stars are found in binary systems which are systems of two stars in orbit around a common center of mass.
One can classify binary stars based on their appearance from earth. Stars that are far enough apart to be distinguished from each other are known as visual binaries. Other binaries are too close and far away to be seen separately but can distinguished using the doppler shift of their spectra. These are spectroscopic binaries.
In rare instances, such as with the star Algol the binary stars are close enough so that the eclipse one another. In this case, one can calculate not only the mass of the binary star systems, but also the radii of the stars.
- StarLight Pro
- StarLight Pro produces animated views of eclipsing binary stars and calculate synthetic lightcurves. The effects of limb darkening, temperature, inclination, stellar size, mass ratio, and star shape are included. This is a free download for Windows.
- Binary View
- JAVA Simulations of Binary Stars
- JAVA Example from Cornell University.
- Eclipsing Binary Simulator
- EBS is a Windows astronomy application to visualise the orbit and synthetic light curve of binary star systems. It is made for educational purposes and for having fun.
- Binary Stars
- Free astronomical software for Macintosh computers, complete with manuals, teaching binary star concepts, for classroom or personal use.
- Wilson-Devinney Code
- Fortran code provided by Robert E. Wilson a the University of Florida.
- Binary Maker
- Commercial software by Contact Software.
- BASIC Programs from Sky & Telescope
- BASIC code for modeling binary stars: BINARY.BAS, GOSS.BAS, PULSAR.BAS, PERIOD.BAS
- Fanel Donea's DOS program that computes heliocentric phases.
Lists of Eclipsing Binary Stars
Online Articles and More Information
Visual Binary Stars »