Discovering the First Binary Star System: The Fascinating Binary System Story

In summary: Consider the other easy binaries...fromhttp://www.ianridpath.com/binaries.htmXi UMa/Alula Australis - semimajor separation 2,5´´, period 60 years, magnitudes 4,3/4,8for comparison:Eta Cas - 12´´, 480y, 3,5/7,4Alpha For - 4,0´´, 269y, 4,0/7,2Castor - 6,8´´, 467y, 1,9/3,0Gamma Leo - 4,2´´, 510y, 2,4/3,6Gamma Vir - 3,6´´
  • #1
which is the first binary star system discovered ever?
 
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  • #3
ok.but is it the first ever known to man?
 
  • #4
Per wiki:

Xi Ursae Majoris (Xi UMa, ξ Ursae Majoris, ξ UMa) is a star system in the constellation Ursa Major. On May 2, 1780, Sir William Herschel discovered that this was a binary star system, making it the first such system ever discovered.

I'd say that's a yes.
 
  • #5
but there are ancient records that people identified some stars to be binary...even before gravity was discovered.
 
  • #6
Phy_enthusiast said:
but there are ancient records that people identified some stars to be binary...even before gravity was discovered.

Those are visual binaries. Some of them have turned out to be real binary stars, but no one actually knew about gravitationally bound binary stars until 1780.
 
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  • #7
Phy_enthusiast said:
but there are ancient records that people identified some stars to be binary...even before gravity was discovered.

Please provide references for this. Especially if you are going to claim the answer you got was wrong.
 
  • #8
Consider the other easy binaries...
from
http://www.ianridpath.com/binaries.htm
Xi UMa/Alula Australis - semimajor separation 2,5´´, period 60 years, magnitudes 4,3/4,8
for comparison:
Eta Cas - 12´´, 480y, 3,5/7,4
Alpha For - 4,0´´, 269y, 4,0/7,2
Castor - 6,8´´, 467y, 1,9/3,0
Gamma Leo - 4,2´´, 510y, 2,4/3,6
Gamma Vir - 3,6´´, 169y, 3,5/3,5
Toliman - 7,6´´, 80y, 0,0/1,3
Xi Boo - 4,9´´, 152y, 4,8/7,0
44 Boo - 3,7´´, 210y, 4,8/6
70 Oph - 4,5´´, 88y, 4,2/6,2
61 Cygni - 24,3´´, 678y, 5,4/6,1
Zeta Aquarii - 3,4´´, 487y, 4,3/4,5

It is odd that Alula Australis should have been the first... compared to say 70 Ophiuchi and especially Toliman.
 
  • #9
from ancient times it is known in indian astronomy that two stars mizar and alcor is a binary system in big dipper asterism.
 
  • #10
it is probably the most ancient and first of its kind discovered in sky by early astronomers
 
  • #11
Phy_enthusiast said:
from ancient times it is known in indian astronomy that two stars mizar and alcor is a binary system in big dipper asterism.

Phy_enthusiast said:
it is probably the most ancient and first of its kind discovered in sky by early astronomers

Yes, but they didn't know it was an actual binary star at the time. And by "actual" I mean two stars gravitationally bound to each other.
 
  • #12
It is mentioned in indian texts that one of the star moves ahead of other over certain period of time and then the first one moves ahead of second one.this obserbvation of movement clearly indicates first sign of astronomical phenomenon of binary star.
 
  • #13
This observation was made over a course of many centuries in indian astronomy.
 
  • #14
Mind giving a reference?
 
  • #15
You can search for Vashistha and arundhati on internet.These are the ancient indian name for Mizar and alcor.
 
  • #16
Throwing them into an orbital period calculator gives me an orbital period of approximately 10 million years. Assuming I'm within even an order of magnitude, it seems unlikely that ancient indians could know they moved with each other. The time scale is simply too long. Even over 5,000 years their orbital motion would not be able to be seen.
 
  • #17
A reference is not a "google search" for two star names. Please. We want real references here. Do you know what that means? An article written by an expert astronomer, could be a hundred years old. Observations you mention were made visually a long time ago and cannot be verified as an observation of a real gravity-bound system.

This seems like a rhetorical post to me. You assume you already know the answer, and it appears that you do not.

Thanks.
 
  • #18
I don't know the answer, i suggested alcor and mizar because it was observed before william herschel discovered other binaries.I think they were first visual binaries ever discovered.But there proper motion was also studied by ancient indians.
 
  • #19
Phy_enthusiast said:
I don't know the answer, i suggested alcor and mizar because it was observed before william herschel discovered other binaries.I think they were first visual binaries ever discovered.

Alcor and Mizar have been known as a visual double since before antiquity.

But there proper motion was also studied by ancient indians.

I don't see how. They are WAAAY too far apart for their orbital motion around each other to be noticeable over a few thousand years. Especially before the invention of the telescope in the 1600's. It's likely that any reference to them moving around each other is based on something other than visual observation.
 
  • #20
Drakkith said:
It's likely that any reference to them moving around each other is based on something other than visual observation.

Information from Ancient Aliens?
 
  • #21
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1. What is a binary star system?

A binary star system is a system of two stars that orbit around a common center of mass. These stars are held together by their mutual gravitational attraction and can have a variety of orbital configurations.

2. How are binary star systems formed?

Binary star systems can be formed through several different processes, including fragmentation of a collapsing molecular cloud, capture of a companion star by a single star, or the evolution of a single star into a binary system through mass transfer or stellar collisions.

3. What makes the discovery of the first binary star system significant?

The discovery of the first binary star system was significant because it challenged the notion that all stars were single objects. It also provided evidence for the existence of gravitational forces beyond the solar system and opened up new avenues for studying stellar evolution and dynamics.

4. How do scientists detect and study binary star systems?

Scientists use a variety of methods to detect and study binary star systems, including observing the movement of stars using telescopes, measuring the Doppler shifts of their spectral lines, and analyzing the eclipses of one star by the other in an eclipsing binary system.

5. Have more binary star systems been discovered since the first one?

Yes, many more binary star systems have been discovered since the first one in the 18th century. In fact, it is estimated that about half of all stars in the universe are part of a binary or multiple star system. These discoveries have greatly expanded our understanding of the universe and its components.

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