Sheliak (Beta Lyrae) -- Multiple Star System in Lyra
Eclipsing Ellipsoid Binary Star
Sheliak (Beta Lyrae) is one complicated star system. It contains nine stars, of which
I could out make four with the 155mm Refractor. Two additional stars were doable
(13th magnitude), but the bright moon-light kept them hidden from my view.
The main star, Sheliak, is an eclipsing binary where two close stars eclipse each other
every 12.91 days. The stars are so close to each other that their atmospheres are
pulled toward each other. The stars are thus not spherical but ellipsoidal. This makes
the eclipses vary in magnitude.
In addition to the Beta Lyrae complex, another double star (STF 2407) is in the field of
view. At magnitudes 10.5 and 10.7 this double makes a nice addition.