Binary Stars

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What makes a binary star...binary?

Binary Stars

Buy a star for someone and you may motivate him or her to learn some cool facts about the stars. For example, did you know scientists estimate nearly half of all the stars are part of binary systems?

Binary stars are basically two stars that orbit around a common location, or a center of mass. Most people don't think of stars orbiting — after all, in our own solar system the planets revolve around the sun. But the sun revolves around the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

Binary stars do indeed orbit. They are considered binary stars when their orbits follow something called Kepler's Laws. These laws apply to objects that orbit in a particular way. Binary stars follow each other in orbit around the center of mass, and the center of mass must be a common focus for both stars. Otherwise, they technically may not be binary stars after all, but very close neighbors.

   

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