Language of the Stars

A Discourse on the Theory of the Light Changes of Eclipsing Variables

  • Zdeněk Kopal

Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 77)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. Introduction

    1. Zdeněk Kopal
      Pages 1-18
  3. The Code of the Language

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 19-19
    2. Zdeněk Kopal
      Pages 54-71
  4. Decoding of the Light Changes

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 105-106
    2. Zdeněk Kopal
      Pages 215-249
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 250-284

About this book


Eclipsing Variables - What They can Tell Us and What We can do with Them The aim of the present book will be to provide an introduction to the inter­ pretation of the observed light changes of eclipsing binary stars and their analysis for the elements of the respective systems. Whenever we study the properties of any celestial body - be it a planet or a star - all information we wish to gain can reach us through two different channels: their gravitational attraction, and their light. Gravitational interaction between our Earth and its celestial neighbours is, however, measurable only at distances of the order of the dimensions of our solar system; and the only means of communication with the realm of the stars are their nimble-footed photons reaching us - with appropriate time-lag - across the intervening gaps of space. As long as a star is single and emits constant light, it does not constitute a very revealing source of information. A spectrometry of its light can disclose, to be sure, the temperature (colour, or ionization) of the star's semi-transparent outer layers, their chemical composition, and prevalent pressure (through Stark effect) or magnetic field (Zeeman effect), it can disclose even some information about its absolute luminosity or rate of spin. It cannot, however, tell us anything about what we should like to know most - namely, the mass or size (i.e., density) of the respective configuration; its absolute dimensions, or its internal structure.


Inclined Orbit celestial bodies earth gravitation gravity planet solar system spectrometry star stars

Authors and affiliations

  • Zdeněk Kopal
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of AstronomyUniversity of ManchesterEngland

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1979
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-90-277-1044-4
  • Online ISBN 978-94-009-9466-9
  • Series Print ISSN 0067-0057
  • Buy this book on publisher's site