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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3answers
937 views

Why does the light side of the moon appear not to line up correctly with the evening sun?

I live at roughly 52.4,-2.1. On a sunny evenings I've often looked at the moon and the sun and noticed that the light part of the moon does not appear to line up with the sun. For example, at about ...
2
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2answers
215 views

The size of the planets

What calculations were done to discover the size of all the planets?
3
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1answer
2k views

Find true anomaly given period, eccentricity and time

Is it possible to find the true anomaly of an object in a Kepler orbit given the orbital period of the object, the orbital eccentricity and the time? Assuming a two body system and the mass of the ...
3
votes
1answer
451 views

Does the long axis of Earth's orbit precess? Does it nutate?

Get up off the plane of the ecliptic by a couple of million miles. Look back at the Sun and watch the Earth's orbit in time-lapse for a few centuries. The orbit is an ellipse tilted at 23.5 degrees ...
0
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3answers
113 views

Is there a chance for Earth to have an additional satellite someday?

I am just an space enthusiast and not a physics professional so pardon me if this is not the right place to ask. As title says, is there a chance for our Earth to have additional satellite(s) like our ...
11
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1answer
295 views

Why are all-Sky images drawn as a filled ellipse?

There is some convention? how is this 3d to 2d mapping done? here an example
4
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1answer
196 views

Gamma Ray Bubble at the center of our galaxy seen by Fermi Telescope

How could we measure high energy photons, whithout measuring them ? I can't understand how we can "see" those Gamma Ray Bubbles if they are not reaching here In this graph from Nasa you can see ...
2
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1answer
531 views

Astronomical detection significance from magnitude error

At this website: http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/swift/analysis/threads/uvot_thread_afterglows.html The passage at the bottom states that a V-band magnitude of 17.62, with an error $\pm$0.02 is a ...
1
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4answers
230 views

Astronomy: Are any vanished objects visible to the naked eye?

Are there any objects out there that have since vanished, but because of their distance and the travel time for light, can be seen with the naked eye? Or are those things only visible with ...
2
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3answers
203 views

Is the “far” universe expanding more quickly?

I'm reading this silly Time article: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2044517,00.html And they say "Even at its best, the 20-year-old telescope never had the acuity to peer so far into ...
3
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2answers
13k views

How is the speed of light calculated?

How is the speed of light calculated? My knowledge of physics is limited to how much I studied till high school. One way that comes to my mind is: if we throw light from one point to another (of known ...
10
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2answers
16k views

How is distance between sun and earth calculated?

How has the distance between sun and earth been calculated? Also what is the size of the sun?
-2
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1answer
535 views

History of Man Acquired knowledge of solar system [closed]

I know the basics of solar system like how earth moves around sun, and that we have so many planets, elliptical orbit of earth, and how far is sun from earth etc etc. I want to take a step back and ...
2
votes
3answers
142 views

Planetary Atmospheres

Venus (0.815 Earth mass) supports a CO2 atmosphere of 93 bars at its surface. Earth's N2/O2 atmosphere has a surface pressure of one bar. What are the factors that limit the mass of atmospheric gases ...
2
votes
1answer
277 views

What happend with the light from all the galaxies visibles from an earth telescope?

Supposing it's possible to see some distant galaxies with an earth telescope, then, at the tip of the telescope lens there are photons comming from the distant galaxy... So, if I extend my hand in a ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do stars have absorption spectra?

Absorption spectra are a result of light of a certain wavelength exciting an atom from a lower energy level to a higher one and at the same time being absorbed. However, the atom should eventually go ...
7
votes
6answers
10k views

How fast is Earth moving through the universe?

As the galaxy is moving and the solar system orbiting the galaxy and the Earth orbiting the sun. So how fast is each object moving and what is the fastest we move at? Do we even know how fast the ...
1
vote
1answer
364 views

How is the mass of black hole at the center of our galaxy measured?

I've been watching a video about dark mater and a lot of the mass is missing in our universe. Astronomers got to this by measuring the speed that stars orbit the center of the galaxy and when they did ...
5
votes
4answers
886 views

Optical explanation of images of stars?

Very often when viewing pictures of the cosmos taken by telescopes, one can observe that larger/brighter stars do not appear precisely as points/circles on the image. Indeed, the brighter the light ...
6
votes
3answers
340 views

How accurately is the moment of perihelion of Earth known, and how is it measured?

Earth's perihelion passed about nine hours ago. How accurately do we know the moment of closest approach of the Earth to the center of the sun? How do we make this measurement?
20
votes
6answers
5k views

Why are the orbits of planets in the Solar System nearly circular?

Except for Mercury, the planets in the Solar System have very small eccentricities. Is this property special to the Solar System? Wikipedia states: Most exoplanets with orbital periods of 20 ...
1
vote
1answer
192 views

Astrophysical Data

I am working on a project that requires some amount of number crunching. I require some basic data about the galaxy M82 and our own Milky Way (particularly luminosities). My advisor is a nut and he ...
2
votes
0answers
328 views

What is the name of the physical space enveloping all universes? [closed]

Please excuse my question, as i don't come from a physics background, but i was really wondering. Assuming we are in one of numerous universes which all have physical dimensions: What is the name of ...
4
votes
1answer
350 views

Exoplanet surface detail: Limitations on size of space telescope array

How big could an array of space telescopes acting as an interferometer be ? How big would it have to be to resolve exoplanet surface detail the size of Iceland at a distance of 100 light years ?
4
votes
1answer
357 views

Lunar twilight and sixth magnitude stars

Summary: when the Moon is x degrees below the horizon, it interferes with stargazing the same as astronomical twilight would. What is x (as a function of the Moon's phase)? We define civil, ...
30
votes
8answers
22k views

Why CAN we see the new moon at night?

I understand that the Moon's phases are determined by its position in orbit relative to the Sun. (See: Full Story on the Moon). The "shadow" is not cast by the Earth (a common misconception - this is ...
14
votes
6answers
6k views

Why is the mapped universe shaped like an hourglass?

I've watched a video from the American National History Museum entitled The Known Universe. The video shows a continuous animation zooming out from earth to the entire known universe. It claims to ...
11
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3answers
506 views

If time standard clocks and any memories about the time standard are destroyed, can we recover the time standard again?

Assume the time standard clocks and any memories about the time standard are destroyed. Can we recover the time standard again exactly? Recovering the time standard again means we can determine the ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

How would I calculate celestial body characteristics without a priori knowledge?

Without any a priori knowledge of the mass, speed, distance, and size of local celestial bodies (aside from Earth's size), what can I calculate and how from my "backyard" through observation? Edit: ...
9
votes
5answers
3k views

What methods can astronomers use to find a black hole?

How can astronomers say, we know there are black holes at the centre of each galaxy? What methods of indirect detection are there to know where and how big a black hole is?
2
votes
7answers
454 views

Can astronomers directly detect black holes?

Are there any methods of direct detection for black holes? I'm not referring to gravitational lensing, or measuring the orbits of a star in a binary pair. Is there any way of directly 'seeing' them? ...
3
votes
4answers
7k views

Planet orbits: what's the difference between gravity and centripetal force?

My physics teacher says that centripetal force is caused by gravity. I'm not entirely sure how this works? How can force cause another in space (ie where there's nothing). My astronomy teacher says ...
6
votes
2answers
874 views

Calculating the illumination of the moon

I am trying to find a formula that will enable me to calculate the illumination of the moon down to one thousandth of a percent, given that the Gregorian year, month, day, and hour is known. Can ...