Glossary term: Binary System

Description: A binary system is any configuration of two astronomical objects of comparable size that orbit each other under the influence of their own gravity. This could be a binary star, with two stars orbiting each other, or a binary black hole, where both objects are black holes, or a binary system consisting of a black hole and a neutron star. Objects in a binary system orbit around the system's center of mass. When one of the objects is much lighter than the other, as for a star and a planet, or a planet and a moon, it is still appropriate, but less common, to use the term binary system.

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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".