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Binary Star Systems

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On with the dance! let joy
be unconfined;
No sleep till morn, when
Youth and Pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet.

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Questions to Explore:
  • How is it possible to tell that a point of light in the sky is actually two stars rather than one?
  • How can we find masses and diameters for binary stars?
  • How do binary star systems form?
  • How do the stars in a binary system interact with each other?
  • How do these interactions influence the evolution of the stars?
  • What causes novae and type I supernovae?
  • Why are binary star systems often the sources of bright, variable X-ray and ultraviolet radiation?
  • Are there black holes in some binary systems?

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