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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1answer
297 views

How are problems in astronomical spectroscopy solved?

Astronomers based on the ground telescopes, watch the stars and make predictions about them based on the spectrum of light. But when the light from those stars reach the telescopes through the ...
8
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2answers
3k views

How did Halley calculate the distance to the Sun by measuring the transit of Venus?

What numbers did Halley, Cook, et al. have? What was the strategy by which they calculated the AU?
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3answers
84 views

astronomy & light pollution [duplicate]

If you were staring to the sky in a big city and electricity is turned off in a big area around you, would you be seeing the sky with little light pollution instantly?
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1answer
74 views

Is it normal to see the moon and sun at 3:30 pm in the sky at the same time?

The question has been asked and answered about it being seen in the early morning, but it does not explain anything about 3:30 in the afternoon? could someone give me insight on this please!
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1answer
43 views

How have the duration of the martian day changed in the past?

There is a panspermia theory which claims that life might have begun on Mars and I currently read a post that the human circadian rhythm is closer to the martian day length (about 25h) than the day ...
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0answers
31 views

Why is the Great Dark Spot so shortliving unlike the Great Red Spot?

The Great Dark Spot is an anti-cyclone in Neptune. But unlike the Great Red Spot of Jupiter which lasts for more than hundred years, the Great Dark Spot exists for only one year or so. Why is it so??
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2answers
132 views

Why are galactic centers always brighter than the edges?

As you can see the image below and other galaxy images, the center is generally much brighter. Why is that? Is there a very big star? A very big gravitational field?
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1answer
46 views

How do I calculate the right ascension of the points along the ecliptic at given elevations?

How do I calculate the right ascension of the point along the ecliptic nearest the sun at sunset and sunrise that is at a given altitude/elevation? For example, I'd like to compute the right ...
3
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1answer
185 views

What is the average mass of galaxies according to Hubble Deep and Ultra Deep field observations?

It is very widely known among people interested in astronomy that there are 100-400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy and there are ~ 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe, which is ...
5
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1answer
233 views

How long in advance can dates of moon phases be accurately predicted?

When researching an article on Chinese New Year I found a few websites that predict the dates of Chinese New Year (CNY) tens - or sometimes even hundreds - of years in advance. I´m wondering how many ...
6
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2answers
85 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 ...
2
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1answer
85 views

The mass of universe at the point of the Big Bang

The density of universe at the time of the Big-Bang was infinitely high. Does that mean that the mass was also infinitely high? ( the universe was extremely small at that time)
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2answers
117 views

What is the area of the sky that is covered by the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image?

I have found two different numbers for the area of the sky covered by the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF). According to this, the image is roughly 2.4 arcminutes wide. The image is also attached to the ...
3
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1answer
211 views

Why do galaxies “disappear?”

So, this bit of information confused me lately. Before, I figured galaxies were no longer visible by us because their luminosity decreased in an inverse square manner. However, while watching a movie ...
0
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1answer
52 views

Physical effects on light from stars

I was thinking about how we see stars at a distance, the light that travels from them is affected by the Earths atmosphere, gravitational lensing and dust etc., but there doesn't appear any equation ...
18
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2answers
765 views

How deep is the Great Red Spot?

The Great Red Spot (GRS) is a very persistent storm system that's easily visible through a telescope on the surface of Jupiter. But what is the three-dimensional structure of the GRS, and how deep ...
2
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1answer
53 views

Does inflation predict a closed universe?

I read somewhere that both a closed and a finite flat universe would have zero total energy in General Relativity (On the Zero-Energy Universe). But the best evidence shows that the universe is flat ...
-9
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2answers
272 views

if the universe is flat does it mean it exists only in our mind as math? [closed]

My dad, who is a retired mathematician, has this attitude, which I think we all have as kids, that ultimately reality is made of stuff. End of story. If you look around yourself in the world, ...
6
votes
4answers
268 views

How does the formation of a solar system not break the second law of thermodynamics?

Please forgive: I am a layman when it comes to physics and cosmology, and have tried finding an answer to this that I can understand, with no luck. As I understand it, the solar system evolved from a ...
7
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3answers
449 views

Are there planetary systems where the planes of orbits vary greatly?

Inspired by this question, are there any known planetary systems with largely varying planes of orbit? For example a system where two planets have perpendicular planes?
0
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1answer
31 views

Difference between astronomy and astrophysics [duplicate]

In my university, the department for astronomy and astrophysics are distinct. I want to know what's basically the difference between the two fields?
18
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2answers
4k views

How many stars are in the Milky Way galaxy, and how can we determine this?

I have heard multiple estimates on the quantity of stars within our galaxy, anything from 100 to 400 billion of them. The estimates seem to be increasing for the time being. What are the main methods ...
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3answers
183 views

What are ADU (analog-to-digital units)?

Can someone explain simply what are ADU's? I was reading this post here: http://www.qsimaging.com/blog/understanding-gain-on-a-ccd-camera/ However, I still don't quite understand this statement: ...
9
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1answer
402 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 ...
2
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1answer
53 views

Density of a planet

I was wondering, how would you find out about the mass and the density of a planet and what the planet is made of? Finding out about the mass might be possible, because you can observe the movements ...
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vote
1answer
55 views

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. ...
2
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2answers
291 views

Differences between astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology? [closed]

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 ...
4
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1answer
64 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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0answers
55 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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1answer
45 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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1answer
72 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 ...
12
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2answers
148 views

What is the most distant object from the Earth that a spacecraft has visited to date?

What is the most distant object from the earth that a spacecraft visited has visited so far? What was the mission and when did it happen?
0
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0answers
57 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
356 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
46 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
70 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, ...
5
votes
2answers
107 views

Are comets known to exist in other star systems?

Are comets a feature unique to our Solar System? Or, are comets/cometary clouds detected around discovered/observed extra-solar systems too? If they were detected elsewhere, how do such cometary ...
5
votes
2answers
126 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?
3
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5answers
10k views

Having difficulties finding objects with Celestron Telescope

I have a Celestron Astromaster 114 EQ, which I saw was highly recommended as a great beginner scope. But I just can't seem to find anything in the sky with it. Yes, I've removed the lens cap, yes I've ...
5
votes
1answer
57 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 ...
2
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2answers
330 views

Calculating the time of dawn

Knowing that astronomical twilight (i.e. astronomical dawn) is when the sun is 18 degrees below the horizon, I am calculating the astronomical twilight time this way: ...
13
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1answer
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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4answers
7k views

How do astronomers measure the distance to a star or other celestial object?

How do scientists measure the distance between objects in space? For example, Alpha Centauri is 4.3 light years away.
2
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1answer
61 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
27 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 ...
0
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1answer
46 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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0answers
23 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
151 views

Why is there a line in the middle of the Planck full sky map?

Why there is a straight line (or perhaps a flat surface) in the middle of the Planck full sky map? and zoom (it makes it seem that the big bang was a collision between two unknown surfaces)
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1answer
41 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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3answers
201 views

Is there any dynamical reason for the winter solstice to happen close to the perihelion?

When the winter solstice arrives, the angular momentum of the Earth, its orbital angular momentum and its radius vector with the orbital focus in the Sun are in the same plane. This happens quite ...