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written by Richard McCray and Andrew Koelemay
This applet demonstrates how one can infer the diameters and temperature of stars by measuring the brightness variations seen in an eclipsing binary star system. The applet displays binary stars eclipsing each other. The user can control the photospheric temperature and radius of each star, as well as the orbital radius and inclination. The applet also allows the user to simulate the effect of noisy data by setting the random error of measurement as a fraction of the total brightness of both stars. The simulation will continue to calculate the system brightness, averaging its results with the previous trials.

This is part of a larger collection of applets by STEM Colorado focused mostly on topics in astronomy.

Please note that this resource requires at least version 1.4.2_06 of Java.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
- Fundamentals
= Eclipses
- Stars
= Binary Stars
- Lower Undergraduate
- High School
- Upper Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Interactive Simulation
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Learners
- application/java
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Access Rights:
Free access
© 2004 Richard McCray
binary stars, brightness, eclipse, light curve
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created August 29, 2008 by Alea Smith
Record Updated:
October 22, 2008 by Chris Irwin
Last Update
when Cataloged:
August 29, 2008
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
R. McCray and A. Koelemay, (2004), WWW Document, (
R. McCray and A. Koelemay, STEM Colorado: Eclipsing Binaries, (2004), <>.
APA Format
McCray, R., & Koelemay, A. (2008, August 29). STEM Colorado: Eclipsing Binaries. Retrieved August 13, 2020, from
Chicago Format
McCray, Richard, and Andrew Koelemay. STEM Colorado: Eclipsing Binaries. August 29, 2008. (accessed 13 August 2020).
MLA Format
McCray, Richard, and Andrew Koelemay. STEM Colorado: Eclipsing Binaries. 2004. 29 Aug. 2008. 13 Aug. 2020 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Richard McCray and Andrew Koelemay", Title = {STEM Colorado: Eclipsing Binaries}, Volume = {2020}, Number = {13 August 2020}, Month = {August 29, 2008}, Year = {2004} }
Refer Export Format

%A Richard McCray
%A Andrew Koelemay
%T STEM Colorado: Eclipsing Binaries
%D August 29, 2008
%O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A McCray, Richard
%A Koelemay, Andrew
%D August 29, 2008
%T STEM Colorado: Eclipsing Binaries
%V 2020
%N 13 August 2020
%8 August 29, 2008
%9 application/java

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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

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