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Binary Star Orbits

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20 years 8 months ago #799 by albertw
Binary Star Orbits was created by albertw
Hi,

In normal binary stars there is one star in a smaller orbit than the parent one about a common center of mass. Both stars move around their orbits in the same direction.

Is it possible for a binary system to exist there one of the stars is travelling in the opposite direction along its orbit, or would this be too unstable and end up with both stars flying off in oposite directions f it were to happen?

Cheers,
~Al

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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20 years 8 months ago #800 by voyager
Replied by voyager on topic Re: Binary Star Orbits
Hmmm .... no idea. It is an interesting question though.

Based on nothing other than gut feeling I think the orbits would be very unstable and that the system would probably fly appart or perhaps that stars might even collide (that would be one hell of a show!)

Bart.

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20 years 8 months ago #801 by michaeloconnell
Replied by michaeloconnell on topic Re: Binary Star Orbits
If I understand your question, then you normally can't have a binary system unless both stars rotate in the same direction. When I say normally, I mean where both stars have approx equal mass and the centre of gravity is located somewhere out in space rather than inside near the core of one of the stars.
A situation where what you propose could exist is where you have a massive difference in mass between the two stars. Say you have a really really big star with huge mass. Then, you have another small star which is moving in space, which may for example have been flung through space due to a nearby supernova. As this small star travels through space, it may be captured by the gravity of the really big star. Their common centre of gravity could be very close to the core of the large star. In this situation, the large star would not have it's movement/rotational properties adjusted much by the small star. But the small star is now in orbit around the large star thus forming a binary situation which you propose.
However, my guess is that this would not be the most common situation.
Any of this make sense?
More importantly, does this answer your question Al ?

Michael

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20 years 8 months ago #802 by voyager
Replied by voyager on topic Re: Binary Star Orbits
I have had a bit more of tha thnink about it and I would say that the situation you describe could not really happen except if a star is captured becasue both stars will be formed from hte same gas cloud and so be rotating in the same direction. Just like all the planets around our sun go the same way.

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20 years 8 months ago #804 by albertw
Replied by albertw on topic Re: Binary Star Orbits
Hi,

Thanks for the replies folks. I'd imagine a lone star capturing another would be a fairly rare event! Though its a possible scenario.

both stars will be formed from the same gas cloud and so be rotating in the same direction. Just like all the planets around our sun go the same way.


Probably, but say the stars formed in an open cluster of many stars. Then due to gravitational tugging some could end up going the wrong way. In the extreme example of a globular cluster the stars go all over the place.

I got thinking about this by the way from wondering about what would happen in the case of a large star accreting matter to the accretion disk of say a neutron star. When I tried imagining what would happen if the large star went around the other way, I couldnt see how the accretion disk would form at all, and so started wondering if such binaries could exist.

Thanks,
~Al

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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20 years 8 months ago #807 by finnjim2001
Replied by finnjim2001 on topic Re: Binary Star Orbits
If the star was small enough wouldn't it become tidally loked as io around jupiter. similar idea or am i totally off the mark :idea:

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Somedays you're the lamp post.

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