I'm not sure why there would be an astronomical term for it, because it's not really significant information in astronomy. I mean, pick any two stars, and there will be a point exactly between the two. But that's true of any two separated objects you pick.
Even in interstellar space travel with a starship that must accelerate for the first half of the journey and decelerate for the second half, unless the stars are at rest relative to each other the point at which the spaceship must begin deceleration will not be the point exactly halfway between the two stars.
What would be significant in a binary star system would be the mutual center of gravity, but unless the stars have the same mass, their center of gravity will be closer to one than the other.
Midpoint might be the simplest term. Although if you're talking about the point of no return, at which they're committed to the trip and cannot turn back, you could call it the Rubicon. I've always loved that term .
Posts: 620 | Registered: Mar 2009
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From what I understand (thinking of my days as an astronomy major), the actual distance between two stars may not be significant to have its own name. The more important thing when thinking about star distance is the gravitational effects each has on the other, and radiational effects. LOL I think that might have a name (sort of like "event horizon" when thinking about a black hole) but I'll be darned if I can think of what it is...
If it is far future, you could always make up a term that was coined for space travel or whatever the purpose is.
The L point is where the gravities cancel out I believe. A midpoint would be the term for a point exactly in the middle without factoring in gravity. An example of an L point is what is called L1. It is the point where a satellite could orbit Earth at the same speed. I would advise against using terms like this though. They tend to confuse people not affiliated with the field. Unless you are going to explain it.
Posts: 36 | Registered: Feb 2011
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Seconded on not using Lagrangian points, unless you're a physics major. A long time ago, I knew what those meant... but I also know that they'd be very easy to get wrong if you don't know what you're talking about, and they can annoy a lot of people if you misuse them.
Think of space physics like horses and boats - if you don't know what you're talking about when you include them in your story, it's very easy to sound stupid. Do enough research to touch the subjects if you have to include them, but don't go all in unless you plan on taking a class. I mostly avoid writing about ship captains for this reason, and only barely mention horses.
Also, if you're doing scifi please be careful about what you have computers do. Ask somebody who's written code at some point in their lives if you have anything at all happen with "hacking."