Welcome to Clip from Spiral logo

Interactive video lesson plan for: Binary and Multiple Stars: Crash Course Astronomy #34

Activity overview:

Double stars are stars that appear to be near each other in the sky, but if they’re gravitationally bound together we call them binary stars. Many stars are actually part of binary or multiple systems. If they are close enough together they can actually touch other, merging into one peanut-shaped star. In some close binaries matter can flow from one star to the other, changing the way it ages. If one star is a white dwarf, this can cause periodic explosions, and possibly even lead to blowing up the entire star.

Crash Course Astronomy Poster:


Table of Contents
What are binary stars? 0:51
Merging peanut-shaped stars 6:52
Close binaries begin to flow into one another, sometimes blowing up the star 8:29


PBS Digital Studios:

Follow Phil on Twitter:

Want to find Crash Course elsewhere on the internet?
Facebook -
Twitter -
Tumblr -
Support CrashCourse on Patreon:


Big Dipper [credit: Rogelio Bernal Andreo]
Sirius [credit: NASA, ESA, H. Bond (STScI), and M. Barstow (University of Leicester)]
Sirius A and B [credit: NASA/SAO/CXC]
Clashing Winds (video) [credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center]
The Radial Velocity Method (artist’s impression) [credit: ESO]
Mizar+Alcor [credit: Wikimedia Commons, Thomas Bresson]
Polaris [credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon]
Does the Sun Have Long Lost Siblings? [credit: SciShow Space]
Clashing Winds (image) [credit: NASA/C. Reed X-ray images courtesy of NASA/GSFC/S. Immler]
Artist’s impression of the pulsar PSR J0348+0432 and its white dwarf companion [credit: ESO/L. Calçada]
Artist’s impression of eclipsing binary [credit: ESO/L. Calçada]
Artist’s impression of the yellow hypergiant star HR 5171 [credit: ESO]
Nova [credit: NASA, Casey Reed]
Artist's impression of RS Ophiuchi [credit: David A. Hardy/ & PPARC]
An artist's impression of Sirius A and B [credit: NASA, ESA and G. Bacon (STScI)]
Artist's impression of vampire star [credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser]
Type Ia supernova [credit: Walt Feimer, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center]

Tagged under: John Green,Hank Green,vlogbrothers,Crash Course,crashcourse,Binary Number,Star System (Celestial Object Category),Astronomy (Field Of Study),Star (Literature Subject),Phil Plait

Find more lesson plans like this:

ASCII and Unicode to Represent Characters in Binary Code

Clip makes it super easy to turn any public video into a formative assessment activity in your classroom.

Add multiple choice quizzes, questions and browse hundreds of approved, video lesson ideas for Clip

Make YouTube one of your teaching aids - Works perfectly with lesson micro-teaching plans

Play this activity

1. Students enter a simple code

2. You play the video

3. The students comment

4. You review and reflect

* Whiteboard required for teacher-paced activities

Share on:

Share Binary and Multiple Stars: Crash Course Astronomy #34 on Google+ Share Binary and Multiple Stars: Crash Course Astronomy #34 on Twitter Share Binary and Multiple Stars: Crash Course Astronomy #34 on Facebook Pin Binary and Multiple Stars: Crash Course Astronomy #34 Email Binary and Multiple Stars: Crash Course Astronomy #34

Ready to see what else Spiral logo can do?

With four apps, each designed around existing classroom activities, Spiral gives you the power to do formative assessment with anything you teach.


Carry out a quickfire formative assessment to see what the whole class is thinking


Create interactive presentations to spark creativity in class

Team Up

Student teams can create and share collaborative presentations from linked devices


Turn any public video into a live chat with questions and quizzes

1000s of teachers use Spiral to deliver awesome, engaging activities that capture students' understanding during lessons.

Now it's your turn Sign up

Spiral Reviews by Teachers and Digital Learning Coaches

Review of Spiral by teacher: Kathryn Laster @kklaster

Tried out the canvas response option on @SpiralEducation & it's so awesome! Add text or drawings AND annotate an image! #R10tech

Review of Spiral by teacher: Room 220 Math Stars @3rdgradeBCE

Using @SpiralEducation in class for math review. Student approved! Thumbs up! Thanks.

Review of Spiral by teacher: Miss Ord @ordmiss

Absolutely amazing collaboration from year 10 today. 100% engagement and constant smiles from all #lovetsla #spiral

Review of Spiral by teacher: Adam J. Stryker @strykerstennis

Students show better Interpersonal Writing skills than Speaking via @SpiralEducation Great #data #langchat folks!

Review of Spiral by teacher: Dr Ayla Göl @iladylayla

A good tool for supporting active #learning.

Review of Spiral by teacher: Brett Erenberg @BrettErenberg

The Team Up app is unlike anything I have ever seen. You left NOTHING out! So impressed!

Get the Clip Chrome Extension & Create Video Lessons in Seconds

Add Clip to Chrome