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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6
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111 views

Why does Omega Centauri have a distinct chemical signature from the rest of the Milky Way?

In answering a question about the orbital path of Omega Centauri, I learned that it has a distinct chemical signature from the rest of the Milky Way. Basically, it is very rich in s-process elements, ...
6
votes
1answer
158 views

Frequency of nomad planets passing within 30 AU of the sun

A recent estimate by the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (a joint institute of Stanford and SLAC) is that there are circa 100000 times as many 'nomad planets' as stars I ...
3
votes
1answer
485 views

Sky-Watcher Skymax-127 (AZ) 127mm (5") f/1500 SynScan GO-TO Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope

I have not purchased the above item yet but was wondering whether or not I should? Can I hook this scope up to a monitor or laptop so I can see what my scope is seeing? Is this scope is any good at ...
8
votes
1answer
148 views

Biggest crater in the Solar System

It seems that the biggest crater in the Solar System is Borealis Basin on Mars. The Wikipedia entry and this piece of news say it has been formed by an impact with a body of around 1600 - ...
6
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1answer
171 views

What is the orbital path of Omega Centauri?

I was under the impression the only objects relatively close to our Milky Way but not yet a part of it were the Sagittarius Dwarf and Large and Small Magellanic Clouds and then much further out, but ...
0
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1answer
134 views

How to find the orbit of a moving point object given 3 past passing positions?

How do I find the orbit of a moving point object given 3 past passing positions and the tangents at these passing positions, and given that the orbit is known to be an ellipse?
-1
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2answers
252 views

Need help buying binoculars online for astronomy (10x50) [closed]

After reading much online I've decided to by a 10x50 porro prism Binoculars. The one I have in mind http://www.letsbuy.com/celestron-upclose-10x50-p-34652 has BK7 prisms. The one I would like to buy ...
4
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1answer
46 views

Missing radio source coordinates in G/T measurement technique ITU-R S.733.2

Section 3 ‘Suitable radio stars’ of this recommendation lists the different stars/nebula and their corresponding flux-densities that can be used in the G/T measurement. There is no reference to the ...
14
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4answers
9k views

Do all the individual stars that we can see in the night sky belong to Milky Way?

I was wondering if all the stars that we can see with the unaided eye as distinct point sources are from our own galaxy? In other words, can we see stars from the Andromeda Galaxy or other galaxies ...
3
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3answers
44 views

Identifying objects, for dummies

If I'm a tyro and have a latitude, longitude, time, date, height from the horizon, and compass direction, what means can I use for identifying what I see there? Realize that, as a tyro, I don't have ...
5
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3answers
3k views

Why is 1 AU the distance between the Sun and the Earth?

Why 1 AU is defined as the distance between the Sun and the Earth? (approximately if you like to be precise) An astronomical unit (abbreviated as AU, au, a.u., or ua) is a unit of length ...
6
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4answers
150 views

Automated telescope system

I am living up north in Norway, 300 km above the Arctic Circle, which gives me six months per year of darkness and cold. I used to have a starter telescope when I was living in Spain, but I gave it ...
0
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1answer
265 views

How to describe the inner curve of a crescent?

What is the equation which describes the inner circle of the crescent that a celestial body displays when view at an angle from its light source, as a function of the crescent-cycle period? For ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I stabilize an unstable telescope?

I have an 80 mm refractor telescope on a tripod, but it shakes on every touch. It's very hard to see via 6 mm (x120) ocular. Even a little wind causes the image to become too unsteady. How ...
6
votes
1answer
776 views

What telescope would I need to observe Mars's polar caps?

What telescope refractor aperture size would I need to observe Mars's polar caps? I have a Levenuhk Strike NG 80mm, and I can see red disk of planet but cannot see any details on the surface.
0
votes
1answer
218 views

Reflectance of Round Moon vs Flat Moon

Treating the moon as an ideal, bright Lambertian reflector, I was trying to compare its efficiency as a light source to an equally-sized flat sheet of drywall. It's pretty straightforward to set the ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it possible that I just saw Jupiter's moons?

Today at about 18:00 I was looking for Venus near the moon and I saw a short bright line. I thought that maybe I was seeing Venus' crescent but it was perpendicular to the crescent of the moon. I then ...
2
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2answers
107 views

How bright are auroras (aurorae)?

Digital cameras are making the recent auroras look magnificent, but what are they like to the naked eye? Are they comparable in surface brightness to the Milky Way?
3
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2answers
123 views

What is stopping us from stick building a space station?

I want to understand why we do not build space stations in a similar way that we build a home, piece by piece. Instead we construct modules on the ground and fly them up. Are there some technical ...
9
votes
1answer
165 views

Are Uranus and Neptune too big for their location?

So I was watching some TV, and I heard Dr. Plait mention that the planets Uranus and Neptune are too big to be located so far out in our solar system. Now, I heard his explanation on the show as to ...
9
votes
5answers
549 views

sun-moon-earth anomaly

When one looks at the sun and the moon in the sky together, why is it that the illuminated crescent of the moon does NOT "point" at the sun? (More correctly the perpendicular bisector of the straight ...
15
votes
2answers
522 views

Why don't any of the gas giants have moons of Earth's mass (or greater) that orbit them? Is this generalizable to exoplanet gas giants?

Now, we know that the composition of the outer planets tend to contain a much higher ratio of ice over rock. [1] So the lack of Earth-like moons around the outer planets that this could be an artifact ...
2
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2answers
173 views

Interstellar bodies

As a solar system evolves the planets interact, and in trying to achieve a harmonious state some bodies are ejected. Space is big, but I have heard that some meteorites have been found with anomalous ...
1
vote
1answer
62 views

Confusing description of Orions belt, could someone clarify?

The Wikipedia article about Orion's belt contains this confusing sentence: They also mark the northern night sky when the sun is at its lowest point, and were a clear marker for ancient ...
4
votes
3answers
798 views

Sky-Watcher Skyhawk 1145P SynScan AZ GOTO

What is the experience using the Sky-Watcher Skyhawk 1145P SynScan AZ GOTO telescope and can it be recommended for a new astronomer? Is it any good?
1
vote
2answers
408 views

Light pollution calculation using camera

Is it possible to calculate light pollution values using camera (analyzing camera feed) integrated in new smartphones (8 Mpx camera) but with pretty decent accuracy? Or that is only possible with ...
9
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2answers
2k views

How can the date of lunar eclipses be calculated by hand?

How can the date of lunar eclipses be calculated? Especially without the aid of a computer.
3
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1answer
105 views

Looking for a resource that explains all colors and shapes of stars and galaxies

I've been looking at some of the astronomy pictures of the day from NASA. They all have content that is indicative of certain situations or events. Supernovas have the scattered lines look, new stars ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Issues with Celestron 130 SLT and shaking

I have a Celestron 130 SLT reflector. I am having some issues with it and I hoped you all could help me. I'm looking for some low tech and inexpensive solutions. My telescope shakes like crazy. I ...
12
votes
3answers
35k views

The Moon during the day

Why do we see the Moon during the day only on certain days and not every day?
10
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3answers
197 views

Will the James Webb Space Telescope be able to capture something similar to, or better than, the Hubble Ultra Deep Field?

Will the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) be able to capture, or ever be used for, anything similar to the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF)?
5
votes
1answer
3k views

How much sky do we see at any one moment?

When we look at any particular point the sky, what percentage of the celestial sphere do we see? This question arises from the notion that on average there passes one meteor per hour overhead. So ...
2
votes
4answers
776 views

How to locate the Orion Nebula?

I was trying to see Orion Nebula for few days now and I simply can't spot it. I'm using Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ ( 5" , Newtonian , 1000m ). I'm pretty sure I have the right spot as I saw many ...
3
votes
3answers
136 views

Quality loss when adding more components to a telescope?

I would think this would be inherently true, but I'm curious: (Assuming the highest quality amateur instruments are used.) Is quality lost when, say, adding a T-mount adapter, diagonal or any other ...
1
vote
1answer
183 views

How does the winter solstice relate to the “longest night”

The winter solstice just gone was on the 22nd at 11:12 UTC. Does that mean the longest night was the night before or the one after? Or more generally, given the time of the winter solstice of any ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

How to measure the diameter of a star?

I am thinking about something I read somewhere (if only I could find it again) in a textbook. It is about the size of a star and its ER peaks. It has to do with the waves coming off the edge (maybe) ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

Recommended first accessories for starblast 4.5

My son got an orion starblast 4.5 for Christmas. It comes with orion explorer II 17mm and 6mm eyepieces. We are looking at some additional accessories and wondering what you would recommend as "first ...
5
votes
1answer
103 views

Is there an Algorithm to find the time when the sun is X degrees above the horizon for a given latitude B at date C

Is there an accurate algorithm / method to determine the precise time of day/night when the sun is X degrees above (or below) the horizon for a given latitude Y at date Z? Is this the same question ...
4
votes
2answers
833 views

Novice interested in buying a used telescope. What questions should I ask? [closed]

I've noticed quite a few decent telescopes for great prices on craigslist, but I am a complete novice and don't know the first thing about them. I thought I would be able to pick up what I needed from ...
12
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2answers
13k views

Is the moon a planet?

Can our moon qualify as a planet? With regard or without regard to the exact definition of the planet, can the moon be considered as planet as Mercury, Venus and Earth etc. not as the satellite of the ...
1
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2answers
87 views

Which direction before dawn to look for Comet Lovejoy (C/2011 W3)? [closed]

Various websites today are reporting with photos and videos of Comet Lovejoy. However, I can't seem to find a definition of which direction to look for it tomorrow morning. I'm in Christchurch, New ...
5
votes
1answer
74 views

Is there an established standard for naming exoplanets?

I understand that exoplanets are named by adding a lowercase letter to the a designation of the planet's parent star or stellar system, beginning with 'b' (the star itself is 'a') in order of ...
5
votes
1answer
66 views

Best observing techniques for a Total Lunar Eclipse?

Is there any good tricks to observing a total lunar eclipse that I should be aware of? Just wanting to know what to do to be prepared for the upcoming one, but please post in general for future ...
10
votes
1answer
477 views

How to explain the Moon halo phenomenon?

Today, here in Brazil, I have observed (and is still observing) an interesting phenomenon. The Moon is near to a big star in the sky, but this is normal. The interesting part is what's around them. ...
4
votes
2answers
591 views

How is the Hanbury-Brown and Twiss effect used to measure the size of stars?

I understand what an Hanbury Brown and Twiss (HBT) interferometer does, but how can this be used to measure the apparent angular diameter of some object? What is the mathematical explaination?
2
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1answer
143 views

Gravitational sphere

I was reading this article that mentions a blackhole as having a gravitational sphere of 4,000 light-years. I'd not heard of the term (gravitational sphere) before ...
6
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2answers
88 views

Is there any chance we could eventually observe the supernova of the first (Population III) stars

In an answer to my previous question about the first stars it was stated they probably formed at Z=20 to Z=60 and may have had a mass between tens to 100s to 1000s of times the mass of the Sun. Given ...
16
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10answers
281 views

In astronomy what phenomena have theory predicted before observations?

As far as I know, astronomy is generally an observational science. We see something and then try to explain why it is happening. The one exception that I know of is black holes: first it was thought ...
13
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4answers
1k views

Is there a limit to the resolving power of a mirror telescope?

Like, if you hammered out the asteroid 16 Psyche into a 1 mm thick iron foil disc telescope mirror with 2.4x the radius of the Sun, could you resolve details on the surface of an exoplanet? At what ...
7
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1answer
75 views

How are exoplanets confirmed?

In reference to the Kepler 22b news: The Kepler team had to wait for three passes of the planet before upping its status from "candidate" to "confirmed". This is possible because the planet ...