ellipsoidal variable

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A type of small-amplitude variable (range below 0.2 mag.), consisting of a close, but not interacting, binary system; abbr. ELL. The two components are tidally distorted into ellipsoidal shapes. The inclination of the orbital plane to the line of sight is such that eclipses do not occur, but the orbital motion causes fluctuations in the visible area of the components and thus in the apparent magnitude of the system.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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