Quite often, two stars may appear to be close together in the sky, although they are really at very different distances. Such chance pairs are called optical binary stars. However, many close pairs of stars really are at the same distance and form a physical system in which two stars are orbiting around each other. Less than half of all stars are single stars like the Sun. More than 50% belong to systems containing two or more members. In general, the multiple systems have a hierarchical structure: a star and a binary orbiting around each other in triple systems, two binaries orbiting around each other in quadruple systems. Thus most multiple systems can be described as binaries with several levels.
KeywordsOrbital Period Spectral Line Triple System Proper Motion Semimajor Axis
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