We are translating some illustrated book for kids about astronomy, and then have a question as in the title.

Referring to Wikipedia etc., It appears that "binary stars" represents the star systems of two stars, whereas "multiple stars" does those of three or more stars.

Thus, our question is whether it is an abuse to use "multiple stars" for binary stars.

Thank you in advance.

  • $\begingroup$ It's a good example of wikpedia being "just plain wrong". Wikipedia is really a "double-edged sword"; one has to take care. $\endgroup$
    – Fattie
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 12:25

1 Answer 1


I'm not aware of any official (i.e., IAU) definition of a multiple star system. However, as someone who used to do research in that field, I would interpret multiple star system as encompassing systems with two or more stars. So a binary system, a triple system, and a quadruple system are all multiple star systems.


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