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 Sweeping past the contact binary Arrokoth at a distance of just 3,500 kilometers (2,198 miles) in 2019, the images that New Horizons returned appeared to an untrained eye to resemble an unspectacular lumpy potato. Diane Hope, Ars Technica, 12 Dec. 2023 Based on models of contact binary star behavior, the two should meet in an incandescent bear hug in 2022, give or take a year or so. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 7 Jan. 2017 Those observations should help to refine our models of contact binary star mergers and shore up Molnar's prediction. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 7 Jan. 2017 Discovered a bit over a decade ago, it was recently shown to be a contact binary star — two stars orbiting each other so tightly that their atmospheres are conjoined in a stellar embrace. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 7 Jan. 2017 Ultima Thule — considered a contact binary — is the most distant world ever explored. Marcia Dunn, The Seattle Times, 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, 2 Jan. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'contact binary.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1952, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of contact binary was in 1952

Dictionary Entries Near contact binary

Cite this Entry

“Contact binary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

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