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Algol double star

Algol double star

R620/0238

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Credit

DAVID A. HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID A. HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Algol binary star system. Artwork of the eclipsing binary star system Algol (Beta Persei), seen from a hypothetical planet's moon. Algol is an eclipsing binary variable system, composed of two stars (orange and white) in mutual orbit, which periodically cut out each other's light as seen from Earth. The cool orange star eclipses the hot, white star every 2.87 days, causing the system's magnitude as seen from Earth to drop temporarily. The reverse eclipse also occurs, but causes a smaller drop in magnitude. It is thought that the white star is drawing matter (wispy tail, centre to lower left) from its larger companion.

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