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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Factors in predictions for Tolman's Surface Brightness Test?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tolman_surface_brightness_test It says: In a simple (static and flat) universe, the light received from an object drops inversely with the square of its distance, but ...
2
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2answers
108 views

Would it be possible to detect nuclear explosion on exoplanet?

How strong would have to be nuclear explosion on exo-planet that orbits some other star for it to be detectable outside of that system. Or it would be impossible due to amount of radiation coming from ...
5
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1answer
273 views

Red Giant branch and Asymptotic Giant branch

What's the difference between the RGB and the AGB? I can't seem to find an clear distinction anywhere. Thanks.
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3answers
6k views

What are good books for graduates/undergraduates in Astrophysics?

There are no book recommendations for Astrophysics here. I will write my own answer, but I am also interested in what are others' views on the question (I will NOT mark my own answer as the best one). ...
2
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2answers
127 views

Can a point source be located more accurately out-of-focus or in-focus?

Let's say I am taking a picture, and I know a priori that the image is of a single ideal point source of light at infinity. With a perfect imaging system in focus, the image shows an Airy disk. I ...
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24 views

Recommendations regarding high-energy astrophysical objects (AGNs, jets, etc.)

I know basic astronomy and I know a few good textbooks for general astrophysics (eg. "Introduction to Astrophysics" by Carroll and Ostlie). I also have a strong background in theoretical physics and ...
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1answer
51 views

Why 21cm line observations is more helpful compared to other radiation?

Why 21cm line observations is more helpful compared to other radiation? Is it only because of its abundance in whole universe or anything else?
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1answer
59 views

How stellar aberration is measured?

A simple calculation shows that stellar aberration due orbital motion of earth is roughly 20 arcseconds. My questions are: Practically how this small value is measured? Does this value is in the ...
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1answer
49 views

Are galaxies “disk” shaped?

When you look a sphere from a fixed observation point, you can easily mistake it for a circle, so I was wondering: are galaxies really "disk" shaped or we just don't have the means to detect the ...
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2answers
54 views

Redshift 1+z - CMB Temperature lower?

I know that $\frac{\lambda_2}{\lambda_1} = 1 + z$ Suppose a galaxy had redshfit $z=3$. Does this mean that the wavelength becomes $4\lambda$? Then by wien's law where $\lambda \propto \frac{1}{T}$, ...
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4answers
748 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 ...
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4answers
6k views

Is it possible for the planets to align?

We've all heard the statement that on the 21st of December, the planets in the solar system will "align" from the point of view of the Earth. I assume this means that they would all be in the same ...
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2answers
140 views

Abundances of the light element of the Big Bang Nucleosynthesis

This question is related to the Big Bang Nucleosynthesis of light elements, more concretely I do not understand some features of the graph Why do the $^3$He and D abundances go down with ...
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2answers
514 views

What is the frequency of occurrence of stellar classifications off the HR main-sequence?

An alternative version of this question would be: "if was to pick a star from the $10^{11}$ or so in our galaxy at random, what are the probabilities of it being various kinds of star?" (and I do mean ...
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41 views

Any cheap (less than 100 euro) telescope for observing Jupiter? [closed]

The moon is not challenging. I would like to observe the big planets and their rings.
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1answer
221 views

Our universe the surface of a 4-dimensional sphere?

The cosmic microwave background that we observe uniformly around us is usually explained by assuming that our universe is the surface of a four dimensional sphere. That way the uniformity makes sense ...
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1answer
107 views

Why is the earth shaped like a sphere and not any other shape: cube, prism? [duplicate]

Why is the earth shaped like a sphere and not any other shape: cube, prism?
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4answers
339 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 ...
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1answer
20 views

How does intensity differ from apparent luminosity in the context of photometry?

Context: photometry in astronomy. Background: The total luminosity $L$ of a star is the energy that radiates in all spatial directions in all wavelengths and is given by the following formula, where ...
3
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1answer
72 views

Absorption line detected with a significance of $2.2\sigma$

What do we mean by the following statement? The SV $\lambda$ 786.46 line is detected with a equivalent width of $W = 22.7\pm10.2$ corresponding to a significance of $2.2\sigma$ How does one ...
15
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2answers
2k views

Dumbed-down explanation how scientists know the number of atoms in the universe?

It is often quoted that the number of atoms in the universe is 10$^{70}$ or 10$^{80}$. How do scientists determine this number? And how accurate is it (how strong is the supporting evidences for ...
5
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2answers
3k views

How could scientists know how far a star or galaxy is from us?

How do astronomers measure how far a star (or galaxy) is away from the earth? How would they know that it has taken 13 million years for light to travel in space before it reaches us?
2
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1answer
79 views

Calculate the maximum variation in brightness of a star due to the presence of a planet in orbit

Background: As a planet orbits around a star, the star's brightness periodically dims as shown in the following picture. By measuring the variation of brightness, we are able to deduce information ...
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0answers
26 views

Question about Hubble's Law - expansion vs receding velocity [duplicate]

The distance to the galaxy NGC3198 is found to be $15.9 MPc$ and recession velocity is $680km s^{-1}$. What value of Hubble Constant is implied? If $H_0$ is in fact $72 km s^{-1} Mpc^{-1}$, what ...
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2answers
80 views

The reason(s) of seasons on earth

This maybe simple and usual question, although there is a lot of confusion about it over internet and even in some books, so I want from an astronomer / astrophysicist to fill the gaps for me ...
2
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1answer
41 views

Current map of galaxies' z's and distances?

So, here's a diagram with some galaxies. I realize there are 500 billion galaxies out there (likely many more), but is there are fairly up-to-date diagram of all the galaxies, or a representative ...
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2answers
90 views

Quick question on astronomical units

I'm trying to solve for $\frac{M*}{M_0}$ and $p''$ using these two equations: Here is the lecturer's working, I worked it out several times and I got a different answer! Surely when you use ...
2
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1answer
107 views

How to practically find the RA-DEC coordinates of a star?

How are RA-DEC (Right Ascension & Declination) coordinates of a star measured i.e. if scientist spot a new star in the sky how do they accurately measure it's coordinates?
4
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2answers
70 views

What is the error in the measured value of the Hubble Constant?

I've found on the internet that the Hubble constant has been measured to be about $2.3\times 10^{-18} \, \mathrm{s}^{-1}$ Does anyone know what the current error bounds are on this value?
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2answers
48 views

Size of objects and variations in brightness?

My textbook says talking about Cygnus X-1 (the first black hole to be identified as such) has variations in brightens of the order of 0.01 seconds and that this means that it's dimeter must be on the ...
2
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0answers
31 views

Milky way rotation data

Can anyone tell me where I can download sample rotation curve data for the Milky Way in csv format?
5
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2answers
500 views

Are there any astronomical objects at night that are dangerous to look at (through a telescope)?

Are there any astronomical bodies that would be dangerous to my vision to view through a telescope? Obviously the sun is dangerous, but are there other bodies at night I should avoid?
2
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1answer
74 views

Approaching of Milky way to M87

The Andromeda Galaxy is approaching the Milky Way at about 110 kilometres per second (68 mi/s). What is the velocity that Milky way is approaching M87 ?
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1answer
62 views

Quick question on parallax and parsec

I know that 1 parsec (pc) is the distance of star at which 1 AU subtends 1 arcsecond. so $1 pc = \frac{1 AU}{1"}$ Now, if two stars in a binary with a separation of 3" and have a trigonometric ...
2
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1answer
524 views

Calculate the latitude / longitude coordinates of the location where the Sun is at the zenith

There are plenty of resources showing how to calculate zenith and azimuth of the Sun when the time and the location are given. However, I need to calculate the location where the sun is at the ...
5
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1answer
139 views

Hubble time and its derivation? [duplicate]

I know the derivation of Hubble time goes something like this (I am an a-level student so this may not be the actual derivation): Two galaxy that is moving away from each other at speed v are now D ...
4
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1answer
36 views

No tremendous neutrino-flux for SNIa?

Why do neutrino account for 99% of the energy release for a SN II, while it is not expected to be the case for SN Ia? Is it because the densities are not high enough to induce inverse beta-decay? ...
0
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2answers
31 views

Are combined masses in space, such as galaxies, considered to be uniform bodies? *In addition, a related question about force

If we were to calculate the force that one galaxy exerted onto another, would we consider the individual masses within the galaxies, or the masses of the galaxies as a whole? Do the individual stars ...
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0answers
47 views

Why are other universes in the picture of Dark Flow?

It seems to me that the popular suggestive explanation of dark flow is another universe interacting with ours. Isn't there other alternative explanations?
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2answers
248 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, ...
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2answers
102 views

Stellar Power(Luminosity) Flux

So I was applying some mathematical techniques I learned to physics, and one thing that captured my interest, is the power or luminosity flux of a star. So modeling the situation, taking the scalar ...
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3answers
232 views

How many stars within 5 parsecs?

I've ran some scripts on some star catalogs, which counted the number of stars with a parallax greater than 200 mas, which should mean everything closer than 5 pc. The results are as follows: ...
4
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1answer
252 views

Future space-based telescope array

Radio-telescopes (e.g. the Very Large Array (VLA)) can simulate one gigantic dish by using separate smaller dishes. Q: Could such an array of optical telescopes potentially see an exoplanet at say 20 ...
2
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3answers
126 views

Astronomical Constant in Astronomical units?

I'm doing a computer simulation of the solar system and I'm having trouble working with big numbers (implementation specific problem). So what would be the Newtonian gravitational constant $G$ in ...
8
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1answer
69 views

Why are no CMB experiments able to measure the whole range of multipole moments?

Have a look at the following diagram: This shows measurements of the CMB by various experiments, with multipole moment $l$ on the x-axis and the temperature of the corresponding moment on the ...
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0answers
26 views

If the universe has a shape, what is the surface? [duplicate]

Since the idea of the universe was that it was expanding, is there a way to know the surface area of the universe like the growing 3D object it is illustrated? The idea was that the universe was ...
5
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3answers
249 views

How/why can the cosmic background radiation measurements tell us anything about the curvature of the universe?

So I've read the Wikipedia articles on WMAP and CMB in an attempt to try to understand how scientists are able to deduce the curvature of the universe from the measurements of the CMB. The Wiki ...
0
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1answer
61 views

How can we know that a black hole exists? [duplicate]

How can we know that a black hole exists if it attracts both matter and light, and to prove that it exists would need to observe it? It's a very common question but I don't know the answer.
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522 views

Why don't we see solar and lunar eclipses often?

Since we see the new moon at least once in a month when the Moon gets in between of the Sun and the Earth during the evening ( and as far as I know if this happens during the day, you'll get to see a ...
4
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2answers
830 views

How is the Earth heated by a Full Moon?

While the moon is certainly not a good reflector of solar radiation, surely the radiation it reflects back heats the Earth (even if it is a terribly small amount). How would one go about calculating ...