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Binary Stars (stationary)

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Posted by Chadwick on February 17, 2003 01:42:44 UTC

I am trying to solve a problem (curiosity in the field I guess).

Two suns, neither is moving (i.e. not drawn by the others' gravitational field). Each have three planets orbiting around them. One planet in this system is my main concern, though I imagine all of the other information is needed as well. This planet is in an orbit on its own. It travels around the two suns in a figue eight pattern. As it travels around one toward a point between the two it picks up the gravitational pull of the other sun and travels around it and in the same manner is drawn back into the gravity of the first sun.

a) How far would the Suns have to be from one another to maintain their own place in space?

b) How large would the planet in question have to be to be able to move between the two gravitational fields of these suns like mentioned?

c) Under what conditions could the planet support life?

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