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Binary system

  1. Jul 18, 2015 #1
    Is it possible that 2 stars in a binary system to intersect their orbits like in this picture? ( the orbital plane is perpendicular to the line of sight)

    stars  333.jpg
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 18, 2015 #2
    My opinion is that they could
  4. Jul 18, 2015 #3


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    Since they are revolving around their center of mass, the orbits will intersect as long as the stars are similar in size.
  5. Jul 19, 2015 #4
  6. Jul 19, 2015 #5


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    The orbits are coplanar, as they have to be in a 2-body interaction. As long as you can treat both bodies as point masses, the only condition for intersection is that the periapsis of the less massive body is closer to the centre of mass than the apoapsis of the more massive one. This depends on the combination of the ratio of masses and eccentricity.
    In principle, this is achievable for any ratio of masses, as long as the eccentricity is high enough - but unless the two bodies are comparable in mass, the eccentricity is likely to be >1, i.e. the orbit will be hyperbolic rather than a closed ellipse.

    If the bodies are not point masses, then conditions for collision need to be taken into account.
  7. Jul 19, 2015 #6


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  8. Jul 20, 2015 #7
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