Glossary term: Light Curve

Description: A light curve is a graph of the brightness, magnitude, or color of an object over time. Light curves are used to study a range of astronomical objects, e.g. variable stars, binary systems, exoplanets, X-ray binaries, or supernovae. Variations seen in the light curve help to classify the object and provide information such as the timescale or period of variability, which can be used to infer important information about it, such as the nature of the object, the source of energy input, or the types of physical processes that operate on it.

Related Terms:

See this term in other languages

Term and definition status: This term and its definition have been approved by a research astronomer and a teacher

The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".