binary system

noun

Definition of binary system

: binary star also : a similar system containing bodies (such as black holes) other than stars

Examples of binary system in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Though astronomers have long expected such binary systems to exist, they’ve never been seen by telescopes scanning the heavens for different wavelengths of light. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "Astronomers probably just saw a black hole swallow a dead star," 16 Aug. 2019 Stars But detecting the binary system doesn't mean detecting an orbiting planet. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Space-based gravitational-wave detector may detect strange exoplanets," 9 July 2019 But the wobble could be discerned as a subtle periodic modulation of the gravitational waves emanating from the binary system. Conor Purcell, Scientific American, "Future Gravitational-Wave Detectors Could Find Exoplanets, Too," 8 July 2019 Such heavy binary systems are likely to be relatively rare in the universe, raising doubts in some minds about whether LIGO would have observed such an outlier so soon. Quanta Magazine, "Colliding Black Holes Tell New Story of Stars," 6 Sep. 2016 That's because both should create similar alterations in the binary system. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Space-based gravitational-wave detector may detect strange exoplanets," 9 July 2019 Instead, researchers propose Triton started as a binary system—similar to the dwarf planet Pluto and its moon Charon. National Geographic, "Neptune, explained," 28 Mar. 2019 In these situations, pulsars — quickly spinning neutron stars — exist in a binary system along with a companion star. Quanta Magazine, "Ultra-Powerful Radio Bursts May Be Getting a Cosmic Boost," 10 Oct. 2017 But the odds are good that it was born into a binary system that harbors at least one big, hot star, according to the new study. Mike Wall, Space.com, "1st Known Interstellar Visitor Gets Weirder: 'Oumuamua Likely Had 2 Stars," 19 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'binary system.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of binary system

1802, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

14 Oct 2019

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The first known use of binary system was in 1802

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