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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21
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3answers
15k views

How long does it take to travel 36 light years with tolerable acceleration and deceleration?

The recent discovery of HD85512b only 36 light years from Earth has promising attributes to harbor life. Assuming we want to travel there, we cannot instantaneously jump to light speed, (StarTrek ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Creating a Star Map

I have a set of data on all the stars (well, to a magnitude of 9 or so) with the values of the following properties: magnitude, right ascension and, declination. Now I'd like to create a planar ...
3
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3answers
277 views

On what planar regions are the Earth, Moon.. for that matter, all astronomical bodies, placed in the Universe?

When we are on Earth, we look UP in the Sky to see the Moon. How do we have to look at Earth from Moon.. Is it the way ? If so, how are these bodies actually placed in the space? Are all astronomical ...
11
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2answers
1k views

If the Earth didn't rotate, how would a Foucault pendulum work?

How does the Foucault pendulum work exactly, and would it work at all, if the Earth didn't rotate?
16
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5answers
35k views

Can the “Milky Way” galaxy be seen by the naked eye in a clear sky?

Is this photo "real"? Are the stars not super-imposed in the image?    
2
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2answers
3k views

Formula for Rotation curves of Galaxies

To ask a more specific one for the rotation curves of elliptical galaxies, and hope from there to later understand the dynamics of spiral galaxies. Treating the galaxy as an isothermal ...
3
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2answers
70 views

Particular targets of high angular resolution infrared telescopes

I work in the field of infrared interferometry, specifically instrumentation. As such, I need to be aware of the science goals of such an instrument. Is there a quick list of important and ...
6
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2answers
2k views

What are the differences in using an eyepiece with a barlow instead of a shorter eyepiece?

I intend to start making visual observations, and I want to know more about the difference between using barlow lenses and one or two eyepieces and using a complete kit of eyepieces, both for ...
15
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6answers
157 views

What to show a beginner [closed]

At my new job, it's soon going to be my turn for doing night/graveyard shifts for a fair amount of weeks. Perfect excuse to buy a decent beginners telescope to replace the 4.5" 15 y/o Meade that ...
3
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1answer
75 views

Assuming an observer is 50 light years away, in the plane of the solar system and observing earth, what is the light flux of earth he would see?

As in, from what the planet emits and re-radiates out into space (this is going to be important if we are to image any Earth-like planet)
5
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2answers
4k views

How do you measure distance to stars within the galaxy?

I know that for close by stars (<50 LY) we can use the parallax effect. And for distant galaxies we use red-shift (& hubble's constant). So how do we measure how far is a star lets say 50,000 ...
6
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1answer
133 views

What conditions should an asteroid or comet impact need to meet in order to start an impact winter?

Is there a way to calculate if an impact from a given asteroid (say 5 miles in diameter, solid rock to which we know the mass) would start an impact winter? If yes, I would like to see a real example ...
4
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3answers
70 views

Are our telescopes capable of taking actual images of brown dwarfs?

One nice result from NASA's WISE infrared survey of the sky is the discovery of particularly cool (as in 'not very warm') stars, now called 'Y dwarfs'. This was reported, for example, in NASA's ...
2
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1answer
13 views

What is the current evaluation of a sky map application for mobile devices?

Which sky map application for mobile devices have the best "feature satisfaction"-to-investment ratio? I would like to have a comparison between "sky map" applications for mobile devices and it ...
6
votes
2answers
264 views

How can Y-dwarf stars have such a low temperature?

A recent article from NASA said they found some stars with temperatures "as cool as the human body." How is this possible? Does fusion still occur in these stars?
14
votes
4answers
538 views

How far would you need to displace your eyes to get meaningful depth perception of the stars?

The question follows from xkcd cartoon "Depth Perception (941)". I've isolated the frames that describe the concept here. In words, one could theoretically point two cameras at the sky, and ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

How does the view of night sky change as the Sun orbits around the Milky Way?

I know that the Sun and hence the Solar System orbits around the galactic center of the Milky Way. Does this rotation cause any visible change in the night sky? I know that human life span is ...
2
votes
6answers
79 views

Amateur Stargazing (30 degrees N)

When I look at the sky I easily recognize Orion, The Big Dipper, and the North Star (in relation to the Big Dipper). Besides these (and the moon^^), what easily identifiable (unaided eye) astronomical ...
4
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4answers
3k views

Are telescopes with a concave lens useful for astronomy?

Are telescopes with a concave lens (instead of convex ones) ever useful for astronomy? And if so, where are they used? Do they ever affect resolving power?
3
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2answers
28 views

For resolving different objects, are there any alternative coefficients to the one used in the Rayleigh criterion? (which is 1.22)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angular_resolution#Explanation It's the point where you can't distinguish between the maxima and the first minima. But could there be cases where you have a more ...
3
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2answers
153 views

Is angular resolution important when we want the spectra of an Earth-like exoplanet?

Right now, our resolution + light gathering power are still far too low to take direct images of exoplanets, so we're limited to subtracting the planet spectra from the parent star spectra when the ...
5
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1answer
3k views

Most accurate ways to find the average distance between stars in Milky way galaxy

I've already posted here on quora. But, I'm not totally sure if it's the most reasonable method. Would anyone care to elaborate on how to find the average distance between stars in a given galaxy ...
7
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3answers
5k views

What is the irregularity in Uranus' orbit that is caused by Neptune?

I carefully read the Wikipedia article Discovery of Neptune, and I don't get what the irregularity of Uranus orbit was that lead to the discovery of Neptune. Years ago, I watched some educational film ...
7
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3answers
131 views

Are there any Earth-Meteorites on Earth?

A follow-on from this question, if meteorites can come from Mars, it seems they could have come from Earth and ended up back here (though I'm guessing that to be less likely). Do we have any evidence ...
2
votes
1answer
175 views

Do red galaxies have red star-lit skies?

I noticed when looking at some deep space pictures, like the Sombrero Galaxy (M104) or the Hubble Deep Field (HDF), I see galaxies of various colors. Does that mean, for instance, than any inhabitant ...
4
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1answer
101 views

What is the format for “local catalog” files used by JSkyCat?

I am trying to use JSkyCat to mark a set of coordinates on a FITS image, and have found the dialog for choosing a catalog file to load. However, I am having trouble finding any documentation on what ...
5
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6answers
607 views

Are there free data available online from cosmology (or astrophysics) experiments that anyone can analyse?

One can understand a subject better in physics by trying to solve as many problems as one can from a textbook say. When it comes to experimental physics and data analysis, no book on experimental ...
6
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2answers
2k views

Are meteorites igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic rocks?

Are meteorites igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic rocks? Or do we need a new method of rock classification for them?
4
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1answer
151 views

Does the Earth help stabilize changes in the moon's obliquity as well?

We know that the moon helps stabilize changes in Earth's obliquity. But what about Earth and the moon? Are some of the obliquity-stabilizing effects (of the moon on the Earth) communicated through ...
3
votes
1answer
234 views

How do the day/night temperature variations of moons compare to those of their planets?

Does the planet's eclipse have a significant impact on the flux of light hitting the moon? Does tidal locking have any effect on the day-night difference of the planet?
12
votes
5answers
2k views

Anti-Matter Black Holes

Assuming for a second that there were a pocket of anti matter somewhere sufficiently large to form all the type of object we can see forming from normal matter - then one of these objects would be a ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Is a water world possible, and for how long could it be stable?

I have several questions regarding this topic. First, could a water world be stable for thousands of years with most of its surface remaining covered in water. What would it take for this to be ...
6
votes
2answers
437 views

If you focus in on one image, is combining two telescopes really equivalent to a larger mirror?

Have a look at this example: In addition, the Keck I and Keck II telescopes can work together as the Keck Interferometer. The 85-metre (279 ft) separation between the two telescopes gives them the ...
3
votes
1answer
46 views

What determines a progenitor's fate as a spiral or elliptical?

I was thinking about my answer to Are the inner planets on planar orbits because there was more dust in the inner solar system (early on in planetary accretion)? - when it occurred to me that maybe I ...
1
vote
3answers
610 views

Software for Creating Custom Star Charts?

I need to produce custom star charts for my website. I want to be able to do the following: Specify a region, maybe a constellation or just an arbitrary region Specify what appears on the chart ...
15
votes
5answers
13k views

Stephen Hawking says universe can create itself from nothing, but how exactly?

Stephen Hawking says in his latest book The Grand Design that, Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Is it not circular logic? I mean, how ...
0
votes
2answers
312 views

Next crescent moon?

How do I find the date of next crescent moon on Wolframalpha or any other site which tells the appearance date time of next crescent on a specific location? I am searching for it to look for 1st of ...
4
votes
2answers
262 views

How is the shape of the universe measured by scientists?

I would like to learn how scientists go about measuring the large-scale curvature of the universe to determine if the universe is closed 'i.e. spherical', flat, or open 'i.e. saddle shaped'. My ...
5
votes
4answers
499 views

What free software is there for observing the sky (sky map software)

I used until now only stellarium.org and I'm curious if there is any other software that is better than stellarium. By better, I mean: doesn't have high system ...
4
votes
1answer
56 views

Do stars of higher metallicity have more planets in highly-inclined Pluto-like orbits?

In an answer to a previous question of mine, one that asked about the planar orbits of inner planets, I was told the following (emphasis mine): On the subject of different solar systems, I would ...
4
votes
1answer
337 views

How to identify the objects in an astrophoto, and what portion of the sky it covers?

Given an astrophoto with a resolution between 0.5 and 5 arcseconds per pixel, which ways exist to identify the direction of view, field of view, and objects in the picture? I believe most amateur ...
2
votes
1answer
24 views

What was the most distant supernova spotted by a amateur astronomer until today?

What type of commercial amateur telescope and what method (difference imaging,...) did he use for identifying the supernova?
5
votes
2answers
109 views

Which citizen-science astrophysics and astronomy projects currently exist?

Most of you probably know of Galaxy Zoo, a citizen-science project to classify galaxies with help of untrained hobby-researchers. In mathematics, the Polymath Project is well known for its success. ...
8
votes
2answers
269 views

Funding opportunities for an independent researcher

In one of my questions I asked about the career paths to become a professional astronomer. Now let's consider the next logical step. What if a person has gained his/her PhD in Astronomy and had an ...
3
votes
3answers
211 views

Did I see two Milky Ways next to each other?

I am from the northern hemisphere and as far as I remember, the Milky Way was "single lane", just one stripe. At least, this is what I recall the Milky Way to look like when seeing it from near ...
3
votes
1answer
22 views

Could asteroseismology have a significant potential to unravel the mechanisms of solar cycles that last thousands of years?

Could asteroseismology have a significant potential to unravel the mechanisms of solar cycles that last thousands of years? And what about solar cycles 1 billion years ago and 2 billion years ago ...
2
votes
1answer
149 views

Are the inner planets on planar orbits because there was more dust in the inner solar system (early on in planetary accretion)?

Question inspired by a question thread here. So when there's lots of dust in a galaxy, the galaxy tends to collapse into a spiral galaxy (to maintain angular momentum and to minimize gravitational ...
5
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2answers
303 views

Where does a star's angular momentum go as its spin slows down?

So we know that stars slow down as they age. But total angular momentum must be conserved. Where does that angular momentum go? The dissipation of Earth's tides somehow transfers Earth's angular ...
3
votes
3answers
89 views

Distribution of each element and molecule as a function of distance from the Sun and as a function of time

Are there any graphs that show the distribution of each element and molecule as a function of distance from the Sun? And maybe even the time-evolution of each distribution over the solar system's ...
4
votes
1answer
69 views

Vesta dwarf planet status

Now that we have close-up photos of Vesta, which the IAU had previously said was a candidate dwarf planet, when is the IAU going to decide the issue? Personally, Vesta doesn't look round enough to me. ...