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What is a binary star

A binary star is a star system consisting of two stars orbiting around their common barycenter. These systems, more when they are distant, often appear to the unaided eye as a single point of light, and are then revealed as multiple by other means. Research over the last two centuries suggests that half or more of visible stars are part of multiple star systems.

Binary star systems are very important in astrophysics because calculations of their orbits allow the masses of their component stars to be directly determined, which in turn allows other stellar parameters, such as radius and density, to be indirectly estimated.