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spectroscopic binary

noun, Astronomy
a binary star having components that are not sufficiently separated to be resolved by a telescope, known to be a binary only bythe variations in wavelength of emitted light that are detected by a spectroscope.
Compare visual binary. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for spectroscopic binary
Historical Examples
  • The star β Cephei has recently been discovered to be a spectroscopic binary with the wonderfully short period of 4h 34m 11s.

    Astronomical Curiosities J. Ellard Gore
  • The calculated masses of spectroscopic binary stars are, therefore, in general only about sixty per cent.

    Astronomy for Young Folks Isabel Martin Lewis
  • Capella has been found to be a spectroscopic binary; also the pole star.

    Astronomy David Todd
  • Prof. Campbell estimates that fully one star in six is a spectroscopic binary.

    Are the Planets Inhabited? E. Walter Maunder
  • A star shown to be double by the spectroscope, but not by the telescope, is called a spectroscopic binary star.

    Astronomy for Young Folks Isabel Martin Lewis
  • This star, which is the Algol variable V Puppis, has been found to be a spectroscopic binary.

    Darwin and Modern Science A.C. Seward and Others
spectroscopic binary in Science
spectroscopic binary
See under binary star.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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