Credit: MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Animation of the eclipsing binary star Algol (Beta Persei). Algol is a variable star as seen from Earth: usually it has a magnitude of 2.1, but every 2.87 days it dims rapidly to magnitude 3.4 for a few hours, before brightening again. This is because Algol is an eclipsing binary star - it is made of two components that orbit each other very closely, and in the same plane as the Earth. This means that they eclipse each other regularly. The stars are a smaller, much brighter blue-white star (Algol A) and a larger, much dimmer orange sub-giant (Algol B). When the small bright star is eclipsed by the B star, the visual magnitude falls sharply. There is a much smaller dip when the bright star eclipses the fainter one, but that is not visible with the naked eye. The Algol system lies some 93 light years from Earth in the constellation Perseus.

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Keywords: algol, algol a, algol b, animated, animation, astronomical, astronomy, beta persei, brightness, change, changing, close, cosmos, demon star, dimming, dims, double, eclipse, eclipsing binary, education, educational, explanation, magnitude, main sequence, mass transfer, maximum, minimum, mutual, orbit, orbiting, pair, perseus, space, star, stars, sub-giant, variable, variables

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Algol eclipsing binary star system

K003/3337 Rights Managed

Downloadable master

Duration: 00:00:22.01

Frame size: 1920x1080

Frame rate: 25

Audio: No

Format: QuickTime, Photo JPEG 100%, progressive scan, square pixels

File size: 553.9M

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Capture format: QuickTime Animation

Codec: Photo - JPEG

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