Authors: Steven Kenneth Kauffmann
Newton's Law of Gravitational Force together with his Second and Third Laws of Motion implies that the inverse of the ratio of the acceleration magnitudes of the two stars of a binary system equals their mass ratio, and that the difference of their accelerations is proportional to their mass sum as well as being inversely proportional to the square of their separation, which causes their vector separation to trace out an elliptical orbit. The period and major axis length of that elliptical orbit yield the two stars' mass sum. The complete orbit's data isn't needed; five or more of the points which lie on an ellipse determine it, and the orbit sweeps out the area enclosed by that ellipse at a constant rate.
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