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Binary Systems - The Solution

  1. When would you expect the brightness of the small star to be greatest?

    In an eclipsing binary, the brightness of the smaller, brighter star is greatest when its companion star, in this case the dark colored ball, is behind it.

  2. How do you think the stars will be arranged when the combined brightness of the system is faintest?

    A binary system would appear faintest when the dark colored ball or dim star passes in front of the smaller star to completely cover it's brightness.

This activity was developed by Jacqueline Slay, Largo High School, Largo, MD

Imagine the Universe is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

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