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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260 views

What is the likelihood of a long-period comet impact?

I always see lots of information about asteroid impacts, but very little is said about comet impacts. As I see, a long period comet impact is much more dangerous because a) we wouldn't have time to ...
10
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2answers
643 views

Was Jupiter's mass “guessed at” by Kepler or Galileo?

Following Kepler's publication of his 3rd law of planetary motion1, $$p^2 / r^3 = 1$$ in 1619, it would have been possible to use telescopic observations to arrive at an estimate of the orbital ...
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3answers
4k views

Calculations of apparent magnitude

I was attempting to do some calculations of apparent magnitude to help solidify my understanding of the topic, but have been running into some confusion. According to Wikipedia, the apparent ...
4
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1answer
4k views

Why are the orbits of the planets in our solar system along the same basic plane? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why are our planets in the solar system all on the same disc/plane/layer? After watching this video I realized that the orbits of the planets in our solar system basically ...
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0answers
111 views

What is the correct way of integrating in astronomy simulations? [closed]

I'm creating a simple astronomy simulator that should use Newtonian physics to simulate movement of plants in a system (or any objects, for that matter). All the bodies are circles in an Euclidean ...
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2answers
212 views

how do we know that the base of entire universe is the proton (hydrogen) and not the antiproton?

It may be that the base of a part of the world is anti-proton, We've always been on the planet Earth and the Milky Way. how do we know that the base of entire universe is proton (hydrogen atom)?
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1answer
101 views

Is “Egyptian Year” the same as a modern sidereal year?

Copernicus uses the term "Egyptian Year" throughout his discussions of the movements of the Earth, and of his and other models of the movements of the planets; but is unclear from his text, or from ...
3
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1answer
175 views

What would happen in the final days of the universe?

I would like to know the stages of how the universe would end and what would happen and what the possible scenarios are. I understand that eventually all the stars would burn out and that would ...
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1answer
779 views

Spaghettification of humans near black holes

A few months ago I was discussing the spaghettification phenomenom with my wife, just for the fun of it. This was when the mass of the super massive black hole from M87 hit the news. The black hole ...
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2answers
110 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. ...
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4answers
107 views

Does the current light pollution set a fundamental limit for the range of Earth-based telescopes?

As far as I know, all deep-sky pictures are captured with the Hubble Space Telescope. If there would be no atmospheric distortion, could we make deeper pictures in the optical spectrum with ...
7
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1answer
89 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 ...
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1answer
4k views

How do astronomers measure the distance of the planets from its star?

I know they have accurate means of measuring the distance of the planets in the Solar System from the Sun. I'm skeptical how can they use the same tools or techniques for other systems so far away as ...
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2answers
168 views

What is an extreme deep field image (XDF) and how is it captured?

NASA recently took this Extreme Deep Field image (XDF) that is the area of only small fraction of the dia of moon and contains 5,500 galaxies. Nasa says this was capture by extreme long exposures so ...
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1answer
282 views

How is retrograde motion explained in Tycho's model?

Tycho proposed a model of the solar system where all planets but Earth move around the sun while the sun and the moon move around the earth. I wonder how this model could explain the retrograde ...
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1answer
75 views

how is the reference for the star maps in google determined?

If I go to google sky - http://www.google.com/sky/ Ihere is a longitude and latitude measure at the bottom of the page. Iow are these coordinates determined and who sets it? Do those coordinates ...
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1answer
207 views

What are “cycles of anomaly” and “cycles of longitude”?

In several early (pre-1600) astronomical texts I read about "cycles of anomaly" and "cycles of longitude", but it us unclear to me what these terms mean. They were clearly familiar to authors at the ...
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1answer
1k views

When and how were relative distances to the planets first measured?

I understand that the absolute distance to a planet can be measured using earth-baseline (e.g., diurnal) parallax, and that the first reasonably accurate such measurement was made for Mars by Cassini (...
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1answer
1k views

How did Copernicus establish the relative distance to the superior planets?

I understand that the relative distances to the planets had been calculated using various methods since ancient times, and, in particular, that the assumptions of the Copernican model of the Solar ...
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2answers
584 views

The “official” mass of the sun as unit?

I'm searching for the "official" mass of the sun as a unit in astrophysics. The mass of the sun can be calculated by: $M_{\odot}=\frac{4\pi^2\times(1 \ \text{ua})^3}{G\times(1\ \text{year})^2}$ So ...
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1answer
193 views

converting daily global radiation into hourly values

I would like to convert daily global radiation into hourly solar radiation. While I do not know the terms, I tried using below equations I found in the papers but I have negative radiation values ...
3
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1answer
82 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)
2
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1answer
470 views

Did Aristarchus take the radius of the Earth into account in calculating the distance to the Moon?

My text says that Aristarchus (310 BC – ~230 BC) measured the "angle subtended by the Earth-Moon distance at the Sun" ($\theta$ in the figure below) to establish the relative Earth-Moon and Earth-Sun ...
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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 ...
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2answers
252 views

How could Horrocks have measured the AU?

I have always understood that the great historical significance of the transits of Venus, and the reason for the expeditions mounted to observe it, were that, by observing it simultaneously from two ...
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1answer
919 views

Would Titan moon blow up if you light a match?

Given that the atmosphere of Titan is mostly methane, and from a comment on this TED talk... Would it blow up from a lighted match-stick? Seems like it's at least plausible. But, wouldn't the lack of ...
3
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1answer
156 views

Why a star commonly exhibits 6 rays?

Have you realized, that often the photo of a star shows 6 rays spreaded symmetrically around it, independently of the camera chosen? Do you have idea of what kind of optical phenomena is behind it?
4
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1answer
147 views

Official definition of astronomical units

As it is relatively easy to find an official value for a large number of physical constants, (thanks to CODATA), it is not so easy for some units widely used in astronomy (Wikipedia, Google and IAU ...
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1answer
59 views

Derivation of superluminality in astronomy

Can somebody provide derivation of the relativistic explanation of (apparent) superluminality in astronomy? The derivation on wikipedia seems to be a bit confusing.
13
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1answer
681 views

What percentage of the sky is occluded by stars?

If you drew rays from the center of the earth out to infinity at every angle, what percentage of them would intersect a star? Extra details: Assume the rays are mathematical rays, or that they ...
4
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3answers
923 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?
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5answers
2k views

Curiosity Rover (MSL): specification / dimensions

I have been looking all over and I can't find a detailed specification about the Curiosity Rover. The length is about 10 feet but it would be cool to find out the dimensions of the wheels, clearance ...
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3answers
1k views

Direct observations of a black hole?

I'm not very knowledgeable about physics generally, but know that nothing can escape a black hole's gravitational pull, not even light (making them nearly invisible?). My question is: What has been ...
4
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3answers
231 views

How empty of fuel are spacecraft booster rockets typically?

A recent XKCD What-if article mentions the situation where each additional kilogram of cargo to LEO requires an additional 1. 3 kilograms of fuel, which in turn requires fuel to carry (simplification)....
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2answers
570 views

Is dark matter really present around the sun?

Recently I read an article that there is dark matter around the sun but if it is so, than why can we see it clearly. If it is called matter than it shall show some hindrance in radiation we receive ...
2
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1answer
251 views

What is the diameter of the sun as a function of wavelength/frequency (around 10GHz)?

I have this vague recollection of being told that the diameter of the apparent surface of the sun is a function of what band you observe it in. I'm looking for a model of this that works for bands in ...
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2answers
984 views

How would one navigate interstellar space?

Headed out from Earth within the Solar System, Sol and Earth both may be used as reference. When traveling in interstellar space with stellar systems themselves traveling at varying velocities even ...
3
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2answers
189 views

Oort cloud blocking light?

Is the Oort cloud blocking a substantial amount of light in the visual spectra, making it harder for observers seeing outside the solar system?
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1answer
47 views

Does an uneven and/or moving surface affect quality when using a solar filter?

I have chosen to make my own solar filter using Baader as opposed to Mylar or anything else based on these: http://physics.stackexchange.com/a/25204/6805 and http://irwincur.tripod.com/...
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3answers
208 views

Why are planetary systems so rare?

According to this site there are 258 know planetary systems and 302 planets. Mostly each of the listed system has only 1 planet of Mercury's or Mars' size, while our system has up to 8 planets. From ...
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1answer
62 views

Is it possible to check from the EM waves(basically Light rays)?

Is it possible to check from the EM waves(basically Light rays), if there are any extraterrestrial objects interference/passage during its travel from the Sun? I mean, can these EMs from the Sun be ...
6
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1answer
962 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.
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2answers
459 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 ...
0
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1answer
260 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 ...
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2answers
315 views

Will Pluto be in the ecliptic plane when New Horizons passes by? Was this deliberate?

From the illustrations at the New Horizons website it seems that Pluto may be in or near the ecliptic plane when New Horizons passes by. Is this intentional? Of course Pluto was to move to that ...
12
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2answers
505 views

Can $10^{23}$ stars be treated with methods of statistical mechanics?

Statistical mechanics is used to describe systems with large number of particles ~$10^{23}$. The observable universe contains between $10^{22}$ to $10^{24}$ stars. Can we treat those many stars as a ...
4
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3answers
73 views

Can the Hanbury-Brown and Twiss effect be used to measure the size of composite objects like galaxies?

I know that the Hanbury-Brown and Twiss effect can be used to measure the size of stars. Can it also be used to measure the size of galaxies?
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2answers
301 views

What's the evidence supporting 1 singular Big Bang? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What has been proved about the big bang, and what has not? I love to dabble with science, I'm by no means a scolar in this field. One thing that haven't seen proven yet (...
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1answer
91 views

What does the latin letter mean in Bayer name of a star such as “$\Upsilon$ Andromedae $b$”?

What does the latin letter mean in Bayer name of a star such as the "$b$" in "$\Upsilon$ Andromedae $b$"? I tried in vain to look it up in Wikipedia or elsewhere on the Web.
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2answers
159 views

Black hole Cyg X-1 doesn't seem dense enough

According to wikipedia, here are the Cygnus X-1 vital stats: Mass 14-16[7] M☉ Radius 20–22[8] R☉ A radius of 10 R☉ means a volume of 10^3 = 1000 Sols. ...