Artwork of the Roche surface of a binary star

Artwork of the Roche surface of a binary star

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Binary star. Artwork of a binary star system, with a large yellow star & small orange one. The Roche surface, or limit of gravitational dominance, for each star is outlined in white. Matter in the sys- tem can occupy 4 stable gravitational wells (light/medium blue), falling towards them from the dark blue areas. The 5 red dots are Lagrangian points at which objects could remain in a stable orbit. Matter within each star's Roche surface is gravitationally bound to that star. Matter can only be transferred from one star to another through the Lagrangian point that lies on both Roche surfaces. Matter may reach this point after being expelled from a star or as a star expands.

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Keywords: art, artwork, astronomy, binary, binary star, binary star system, cosmology, double star, gravitational well, lagrangian point, roche surf, roche surface, roche surface art, science, star, stellar

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