Hills Observatory: 1 January 2013 to 30 March 2020
For close binary eclipsing systems there is a triple system of classification: according
to the shape of the combined light curve, as well as to physical and evolutionary
characteristics of their components.
The classification based on light curves is simple, traditional and suits the observers;
the second and third classification methods take into account positions of the binary-
system components in the (MV ,B-V) diagram and the degree of inner Roche lobe
Estimates are made by applying the simple criteria proposed by Svechnikov and
Istomin (1979). The symbols for the types of eclipsing binary systems that we use are
a) Classification based on the shape of the light curve
E Eclipsing binary systems. These are binary systems with orbital planes so close to
the observer's line of sight (the inclination i of the orbital plane to the plane
orthogonal to the line of sight is close to 90 deg) that the components periodically
eclipse each other. Consequently, the observer finds changes of the apparent
combined brightness of the system with the period coincident with that of the
components' orbital motion.
EA Algol (Beta Persei)-type eclipsing systems. Binaries with spherical or slightly
ellipsoidal components. It is possible to specify, for their light curves, the
moments of the beginning and end of the eclipses. Between eclipses the light
remains almost constant or varies insignificantly because of reflection effects,
slight ellipsoidality of components, or physical variations. Secondary minima
may be absent. An extremely wide range of periods is observed, from 0.2 to >=
10,000 days. Light amplitudes are also quite different and may reach several
EB Beta Lyrae-type eclipsing systems. These are eclipsing systems having ellipsoidal
components and light curves for which it is impossible to specify the exact times
of onset and end of eclipses because of a continuous change of a system's
apparent combined brightness between eclipses; secondary minimum is observed
in all cases, its depth usually being considerably smaller than that of the primary
minimum; periods are mainly longer than 1 day. The components generally
belong to early spectral types (B-A). Light amplitudes are usually <2 mag in V.
EW W Ursae Majoris-type eclipsing variables. These are eclipsers with periods shorter
than 1 day, consisting of ellipsoidal components almost in contact and having
light curves for which it is impossible to specify the exact times of onset and end
of eclipses. The depths of the primary and secondary minima are almost equal or
differ insignificantly. Light amplitudes are usually <0.8 mag in V. The components
generally belong to spectral types F-G and later.
b) Classification according to the components' physical characteristics
GS Systems with one or both giant and supergiant components; one of the
components may be a main sequence star.
PN Systems having, among their components, nuclei of planetary nebulae (UU Sge).
RS RS Canum Venaticorum-type systems. A significant property of these systems is
the presence in their spectra of strong Ca II H and K emission lines of variable
intensity, indicating increased chromospheric activity of the solar type. These
systems are also characterized by the presence of radio and X-ray emission.
Some have light curves that exhibit quasi sine waves outside eclipses, with
amplitudes and positions changing slowly with time. The presence of this wave
(often called a distortion wave) is explained by differential rotation of the star,
its surface being covered with groups of spots; the period of the rotation of a spot
group is usually close to the period of orbital motion (period of eclipses) but still
differs from it, which is the reason for the slow change (migration) of the phases
of the distortion wave minimum and maximum in the mean light curve. The
variability of the wave's amplitude (which may be up to 0.2 mag in V) is
explained by the existence of a long-period stellar activity cycle similar to the
11-year solar activity cycle, during which the number and total area of spots on
the star's surface vary.
WD Systems with white-dwarf components.
WR Systems having Wolf-Rayet stars among their components (V 444 Cyg).
c) Classification based on the degree of filling of inner Roche lobes
AR Detached systems of the AR Lacertae type. Both components are subgiants not
filling their inner equipotential surfaces.
D Detached systems, with components not filling their inner Roche lobes.
DM Detached main-sequence systems. Both components are main-sequence stars
and do not fill their inner Roche lobes.
DS Detached systems with a subgiant. The subgiant also does not fill its inner critical
DW Systems similar to W UMa systems in physical properties (KW, see below), but
not in contact.
K Contact systems, both components filling their inner critical surfaces.
KE Contact systems of early (O-A) spectral type, both components being close in
size to their inner critical surfaces.
KW Contact systems of the W UMa type, with ellipsoidal components of F0-K spectral
type. Primary components are main-sequence stars and secondaries lie below
and to the left of the main sequence in the (MV,B-V) diagram.
SD Semidetached systems in which the surface of the less massive component is
close to its inner Roche lobe.
The combination of the above three classification systems for eclipsers results in the
assignment of multiple classifications for object types. These are separated by a
solidus ("/") in the data field. Examples are: E/DM, EA/DS/RS, EB/WR, EW/KW, etc.