The science dealing with objects and phenomena located beyond Earth. In particular, this applies to observations and data. At its core, astronomy is the physically informed cataloging and classifying of the contents of the universe in order to better understand what is out there.

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Why is cross section inversely proportional to wavelength for interstellar scattering?

The following problem was part of a homework for my Cosmology class: Compare the probability of interstellar scattering of photons of yellow light (5000 angstroms) and 50 micron infra-red light. ...
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73 views

Differences between astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology? [on hold]

What is the main difference between Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Cosmology? I have the impression that astronomy is a subject that runs parallel to physics but it is outside the physics field. This ...
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31 views

Algorithm for calculating lunar crescent visibility

Is there a simple algorithm for predicting lunar crescent visibility. Simple enough to do with a calculator at least. Those offered in Meeus' Astronomical Algorithms are a bit too involving to do by ...
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48 views

How do scientists estimate elemental-abundance in the universe?

I understand how cosmological observations can estimate the amount of 'baryonic matter' in the universe, but what I don't understand is how scientists can estimate the abundance of a particular ...
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25 views

Mass of NGC 1097 Galaxy

I've been looking all over the internet for this and can't seem to find a reference. Can anyone refer me to a paper citing the mass of NGC 1097 based on luminosity?
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49 views

What will I see if I travelled to a distant planet in 100 times faster than speed of light and look back? [closed]

Consider this scenario. I enter a space ship at 10:00 AM, it starts to move at a speed 100 times faster than light, I travel for 55 mins. And then slow down to very much less than speed of light and ...
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21 views

Simplified calculation to find Lagrange point L1

I'm trying to find the position of Lagrange point L1 in the earth-moon system. To make the whole thing easier (I thought) I don't care about the sun's influence or any other forces than the ...
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364 views

Are the distances we measure to objects in the universe incorrect because of their relative motion?

For example the agreed distance to the Andromeda Galaxy is 2.5 million light years, and consequentially, we see the galaxy as it was 2.5 million years ago! (A time interval in which the galaxy must ...
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59 views

Is the best data about Mercury's perihelion shift really 60 years old?

The advance of the perihelion of Mercury is one of the four classical tests of general relativity. I wonder what's the most precise modern measurement of it. However, while scanning the literature, ...
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39 views

Prerequisites for Ptolemy's Almagest

I hope this is a valid question to ask on this website (since it's astronomy and not e.g. mechanics, I wasn't so sure). What prerequisites are needed for fully understanding Ptolemy's Almagest. Fully ...
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43 views

What fraction of baryonic matter is in stars?

We know from big bang nucleosynthesis that baryonic matter accounts for about 5% of the universe's total mass-energy density. What is the current best estimate of how much of this is in the form of ...
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15 views

Synthesising types of galaxies using various stellar spectra

I have been given the task of synthesising an elliptical galaxy, a starburst galaxy and a spiral galaxy (considering the arms and the bulge separately and adding them) using stellar spectra which I ...
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55 views

How the distance and diameter of the stars are experimentally measured?

How to measure the distance of a star and the diameter of it from earth based tools? Normally we can measure the angle between the stars edge. But diameter or distance needed to measure the other ...
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1k views

How would one detect antihydrogen in the universe?

Since the spectra of hydrogen and antihydrogen are the same, how do astronomers know which one they're detecting? Is, perhaps, the Lamb shift in antihydrogen different?
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24 views

Interferometry works as a filter

I attended an astronomy seminar the other day and though I did not pick up much as it was on data collection etc, I did take away one sentence: "Interferometry works as a filter" Now I know what ...
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1answer
41 views

How to find how far away could a binary system be? [closed]

Human eye resolution is about one arcminute. Two stars in a binary system are separated by 10 AU. How far away can they be such that your eye could still distinguish them as two separate stars rather ...
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19 views

Calculating distance to a binary as well as star pair in cluster, based on reference star data of related spectral class

The problem at hand consists of calculating the absolute magnitude $M_V$ for a B0V type star, then the distance to a binary system with one star A1V and one B0V type star, and finally a star pair ...
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32 views

The luminosity function

I'm trying to figure this out for the case... Supposedly the average luminosity will be equal to but how :S I know is the number density of galaxies per unit volume and luminosity but that ...
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81 views

Why is the Moon not redder at moonrise/moonset?

Okay we all know about Raleigh Scattering, which makes the sky blue. And by the same token, sunsets appear red because sunlight traveling through more atmosphere will "lose more blueness" as it's ...
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322 views

What would we see if we looked at our Solar system from 2,000 light years away with our current technology?

Assuming the tables were turned and we would live in a system like Kepler-422/423/424, some 2,000 ly away. If we'd look at the Solar system with a telescope like Kepler and using techniques like ...
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111 views

How do we estimate $10^{23}$ stars in the observable universe?

Now, I read somewhere, that there are $10^{23}$ stars in the observable universe. How did scientists estimate this?
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1answer
70 views

Do septuple (7), octuple (8) or nonuple (9) star system exist?

The highest I found so far is Castor, a sextuple star system. And there doesn't seem to be any other sextuple star system within at least 100 light-years...
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1answer
151 views

Standard gravitational parameter - different formulas

Why we have two formulas for Standard Gravitational Parameter: $$\mu=GM \ \,{\rm and}\, \mu = rv^2 \ .$$ I don't see any direct connection between the two formulas. How can we derive the second from ...
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1answer
39 views

Binary Mass Function Plot

Suppose that we have a circular eclipsing binary system with orbital period of $P = 2 \text{days}$, and with one star with a radial velocity of $v_{1r} = 100 km/s$. The other star is to dim for its ...
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102 views

Is there a way to tell what centile of the overall sample a star's mass is in?

One hears that hyper-giant stars like Eta-carinae represent the upper bound on stellar mass at about 130 solar masses. At the lower end there are red dwarfs with as little as 0.075 solar mass. You ...
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68 views

Non-discoveries by the Kepler space telescope: exomoons, co-orbital planets, trojans

I am just reading the review article Advances in exoplanet science from Kepler (arxiv preprint: http://arxiv.org/abs/1409.1595), and I found a remarkable paragraph (last paragraph in section ...
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1answer
130 views

How did all of the heavy elements on earth get here?

I have often read that a first generation star went supernova and seeded our solar system. It is well known that stars that go supernova are the source of elements heavier than iron. I guess I am ...
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48 views

Simplifying Friedmann's Equation

So we have one of Friedmann's equation: $$\rho_c = \frac{3H^2}{8\pi G}$$ Using This website, resources where gathered for specific times in the universe. The resources being the Hubble constant at ...
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14 views

Why does the Zodiacal light vary between dawn and dusk?

According to several pages, in the Fall the Zodiacal light is better seen at dawn than at dusk: In the mid-latitudes, the zodiacal light is best observed in the western sky in the spring after the ...
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1answer
49 views

Data/signal from a black hole to observe a singularity

I wonder if a situation is possible where, we measure some signal/property concerning a black hole. Supposing the measurement we make with some telescope, gets us the Fourier transform coefficients of ...
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37 views

Sharpness of starlight

I am interested in argument that the observed lack of blurriness in starlight refutes the "tired light" theories. I have not been able to find this argument expanded in detail. There are two ways ...
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3answers
98 views

What can be seen with a 114mm Aperture 675x Zoom Telescope?

I choose to post this question on the physics exchange seeing there would be a bigger audience for answers than the astronomy exchange still in BETA. But i'm looking to buy a telescope and was ...
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1answer
29 views

How much has the Milky Way moved since it's forming?

What i really want to ask how much has the Milky Way moved, relative to where it was "at the big bang" or the soonest time that makes sense (since i doubt "at the big bang" makes much sense in this ...
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33 views

Sun reaching zenith at a particular latitude

I need to find when the sun reaches the Zenith at a given latitude. What I've done so far: $L=23.5 \cdot \sin(\frac{2\pi}{365.25}\cdot D) $ Here L is the latitude (<23.5) and D is number of days ...
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1answer
136 views

Magnification of an astronomical telescope not in normal adjustment?

I am stuck on this question: A telescope consists of two thin converging lenses of focal lengths 100cm and 10cm respectively. It is used to view an object 2000cm from the objective. What is the ...
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0answers
62 views

Sedna, VP113 and the likelihood of the PX/Tyche/Thelistos hypotheses

The recent discoveries in exoplanetary science (specially those findings of planets orbiting far far away from its parent star/stars) raise questions about how much we know about the (true, AIU ...
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343 views

How to explain the existence of heavier elements in Population I stars and in Population II stars contain lighter one

Recently I read Astrophysics Notes where I found a statement that young stars are classified as Population I stars and relatively older one as Population II stars. Population I stars contain ...
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56 views

How to prove the Hubble law is the unique expansion law compatible with homogeneity and isotropy?

In the book physical foundations of cosmology, it saids that Hubble law is unique and a problem seems to be a hint of proving that. In order for a general expansion law,v=f(r,t), to be the same ...
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1answer
40 views

What is the power of the most powerful quasar found?

Trying to find an answer to this question, I came across many sources that are in complete in contradiction. For example Wikipedia states that a typical quasar has a power of $10^{40}$ watts while ...
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2answers
2k views

Is it possible to 3D print a mirror to create a high quality telescope?

Is it possible to 3D print a mirror with todays available materials? If so, would there be a reduction in image quality?
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1answer
75 views

Deflection of light by the Sun

Can you give details of a recent experiment of deflection of light by the Sun? What is the distance from the surface of the Sun and what is the exact value of the angle of deflection?
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85 views

Adding matter to make galaxies bigger

What are the actual factors that play a role in the accretion of matter into galaxies? I read about Accretion Disks but I don't quite understand how they work yet.
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1answer
892 views

Why don't the black holes appear black in color in images of galaxies taken from HST?

According to NASA a black hole is anything but empty space. Rather, it is a great amount of matter packed into a very small area According to the documentary Space Unraveling The Cosmos about ...
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2answers
116 views

Could two identical stars revolve around each other in a common orbit if we only account for Newtonian physics?

Both a parent star and its planet revolve around the center of mass of the system, the reason we see stellar wobble. But if we take this to be true, which it is, there can be a configuration in which ...
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1answer
79 views

Can life exist in intergalactic space?

A terrifying idea I think, to be so utterly alone. Do you recon life could exist in intergalactic space? A lot of cosmic radiation is shielded from us by the Milky Way's magnetic field, but the ...
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2answers
42 views

For a planet which has a temperature gradient, hot in the center and cooler on the surface, why do we get absorption lines?

For a planet which has a temperature gradient, hot in the center and cooler on the surface, why do we see absorption lines? Similarly, why do we see emission lines if the planet is hot on the ...
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2answers
79 views

Possible intergalactic celestial objects

We know there are rouge stars floating in intergalactic space, thought to be caused by galactic collision. What other other classes of celestial object could be found floating around in intergalactic ...
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1answer
39 views

Classification of small extra-solar system bodies

A Small Solar System Body (SSSB) is an object in the Solar System that is neither a planet, nor a dwarf planet, nor a satellite. This encompasses all comets and all minor planets, as well as all ...
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50 views

how to measure the age of light?

We measure distances in universe by the units of light year/s or parsec. Which means distance traveled by light in one year equals one light year. Thus the lights we receive from the distant stars or ...
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60 views

How are the distances to the most distant $\gamma$-ray bursts measured?

This question came to my mind when I read on NASA's website that an explosion (gamma ray burst, GRB 080913) took place 12.8 billion light years away from us. How do they measure such large distances?