contact binary


Definition of contact binary

: a binary star system in which the two stars are close enough together for material to pass between them

Examples of contact binary in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Ultima Thule — considered a contact binary — is the most distant world ever explored. Marcia Dunn, The Seattle Times, "NASA’s faraway space snowman has flat, not round, behind," 12 Feb. 2019 It’s two asteroids that have collided and stuck together many years ago, becoming what’s known as a contact binary. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Here's Our Best Look So Far at Ultima Thule," 2 Jan. 2019

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

First Known Use of contact binary

1952, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for contact binary

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The first known use of contact binary was in 1952

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Cite this Entry

“Contact binary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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