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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How to begin using SDSS data?

SDSS has gone through so many updates, it's difficult to find out how to access the data today in 2015. How can I use SQL and Python to access SDSS data, e.g. the photometry and spectra of quasars, ...
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92 views

If the Sun were smaller but had the same surface temperature, would it still have the same luminance?

Let's assume we have two stars that have the same surface temperature but very different size. I understand how luminosity depends on surface area so the two stars will have different luminosity, but ...
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114 views

If planet orbits are in the shape of an ellipse and the sun is a focus, where and what is the focus? [duplicate]

I've studied ellipses. I've studied physics. But when it comes down to the elliptical orbits of the planets is where I get confused. Ellipses contain two foci — and in the orbits of our solar system ...
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18 views

How do exoplanet surveys precisely measure stellar properties?

All measurements in exoplanetary studies (e.g. the Kepler study) depend on how precisely we know the properties of a star. For instance, the planet mass and radius is known only as well as the star's ...
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What planets are visible to the naked eye from Mars?

Here on Earth we are blessed with being able to see some other planets, Mars & Venus etc, with the naked eye on a fairly regular basis thanks to the distance between the planets. What about from ...
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4answers
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Navigating to a distant star

Suppose I have a space ship that can travel at $0.9c$, and I'm going to a star located at 20 light years or so from the Sun. From a practical point of view, if I keep pointing the nose of my space ...
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527 views

Shapes of galaxies

I've heard most of galaxies are spiral or ellipsoid shaped. Is it true? If true, then why they form in such shapes? How did arms of the spiral galaxies form?
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9k views

Why can't we see light travelling from point A to B?

Let's say we have a cloud of dust which is a lightyear across and someone shoots a beam of light from point A to B , why it is not possible for an observer far far away to see the light while it ...
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42 views

How do we tell the CMB apart from other radiation?

Say I want to observe the CMB and the CMB only. I point my device (telescope in some frequency range) at the sky and start looking. How do I know it should be in the Microwave spectrum? How do I ...
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Are Hubble Telescope Images in true color?

Like many others, I have marveled at the images made available from the Hubble Space Telescope over the years. But, I have always had a curiosity about the color shown in these images. An example is ...
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5answers
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Does the Moon's core still contain significant heat?

On earth, using earth-sheltering techniques can significantly reduce the temperature fluctuations on a structure. Would the same statement be true as well on the Moon? Does the Moon's core still ...
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43 views

Why do TiO bands dominate M dwarfs?

I'm new at understanding stellar classification and the spectral classification of stars. What is the exact reason TiO molecules (titanium oxide) dominate the spectrum for M dwarfs? How did this TiO ...
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279 views

Why is the Hubble Space telescope able to see farthest in the universe?

What determines how far a telescope can see in the universe? How does recording data for a very long time (~10 years) help? If we could build a telescope which work at microwave region, will it be a ...
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96 views

Is there uncertainity of position of the perfectly homogenous radiating body?

I heard the standard interpretation of Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle: Just the measurement affects the position of the body because always you want to see a body (=to measure the position), you ...
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117 views

Detecting molecules in space?

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2012/02/24/nasa-detects-solid-buckyballs-in-space/ I refer to the above article, which mentions that buckyballs "far smaller than the width of a hair" were ...
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3answers
78 views

Why do telescopes move synchronously?

Here's a very nice video (see it in HD) of timelapses captured at the atacama desert. In the beginning of the video you can see that 4 telescopes move synchronously. Could anyone explain why? I always ...
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Do we know what event caused the Sun and Solar System to form?

Some stellar formation theories suggest that stars are formed by shock waves from trigger events such as supernovae. This excerpt from Star Formation basically gives the background to my question: ...
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47 views

What are some of the observable effects of black holes

Is there some kind of of observation of a black hole (or a black hole candidate) which could be made from earth, and which might be able to distinguish between two Black Hole models? (1) the classical ...
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44 views

Is it possible that a satellite once was a small planet?

Very common fact that a planet has satellite which revolves around it and has an impact on that planet too.Is it possible that a small planet had been bombarded with a big planet and transformed ...
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77 views

What is this big, white, dense, circular collection of stars in this picture taken from a Telescope? (See the image)

I was visiting this website- http://crest.iiap.res.in/iaonightcam.html, where there was a picture of the night sky coming live from a Telescope. My question is, why is there so many stars in this ...
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103 views

Calculate which star is at Zenith using my latitude, longitude, and time

I'm developing a Planetarium software and I have no idea about how what stars and planets are visible today (mm/dd/yyyy hh:mm) given a latitude and longitude. Reading this tutorial, I have found how ...
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5answers
130 views

Superheavy… “Stars” production of super heavy elements w/o solar fusion

Just a soft question: Let's say a field of stars all die within a short amount of time. Just for argument's sake they produce a debris field of iron ( or any other heavy element). Provided that ...
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Observations of erratic rotation of asteroids

An asteroid generally has an irregular shape, therefore, one would expect its rotation is quite erratic in some sense. Are there any observational examples?
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Is surface brightness constant as a function of distance?

Well of course it is - the flux drops off as the square of the distance, but the solid angle subtended by the source drops off the same way, so surface brightness is constant, right? Yet other ...
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2answers
178 views

Explain relationship between angular diameter distance and luminosity distance, Etherington Theorem

I have a question relating to the Etherington Theorem. The luminosity distance is defined by the equation for flux, i.e. $F=\frac{L}{4\pi D_L^2}$ where flux is in units energy per unit time ...
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538 views

What is the status of existing measurements of the speed of gravity?

In replying to a recent question I stated: Gravitational waves have not been yet experimentally observed so as to have their velocity measured. Which after the fact prompted me to try and verify ...
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2answers
169 views

Is there a confirmation of dark matter signal?

Dark matter, as we know does not emit light, so confirmation of its presence is indirect. Are there any recent indirect confirmations of dark matter. A place one would look for in detecting dark ...
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49 views

Sol Lagrange points

Where are the Sol-Sagittarius A* Lagrange points, what is located there, have we ever focused a telescope to look? And the larger question, could the existence of these points offer some explanation ...
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3answers
540 views

“Reverse engineering” of a horoscope?

I'll start with a disclaimer -- this is not a question about astrology itself, I'm neither trying to refute nor to defend astrology. I'm interested in purely technical things, which are mostly ...
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237 views

How can we see objects that are so far away? [duplicate]

The HUDF used to be the deepest image of the universe ever taken by the Hubble telescope, the furthest star in this image is 59000 light years away. The star in question: Now Imagine a light ...
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1answer
63 views

What is the safest distance to create a star? [closed]

What is the safest distance we could create a star without affecting the gravitational force of our solar system? Thanks.
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56 views

Effect of dark matter on measuring our weight

We know that 95% of the matter in the universe, and all around us, and in our room is dark matter. Dark matter does interact with normal matter only through gravitation. So, does it have an effect on ...
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1answer
81 views

Do stars produce spatially coherent light? Why?

If I understand correctly, the existance of astronomical interferometry implies coherence of light produces by stars. The temporal coherence can probably be achieved by wavelength filters. But what ...
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2answers
95 views

What's the point of looking at distances beyond $13,7$ billion light years?

Question: Provided that the age of the universe is $13.7$ billion years, but the actual radius is $48$ billion ly, what are we really going to see if we built a telescope powerful enough to reach ...
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188 views

Did dark matter cause the formation of the Solar System?

This question is related to my previous question on Solar System Formation and is a pure thought experiment, with as few as possible assumptions made. From my previous question, I learned that stars ...
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119 views

Drift of Earth's orbit?

How much has Earth drifted (inwards or outwards) from its orbit about the sun? Or has Earth has not moved at all, compared to, say, 1000 years ago? 10,000 years ago?
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4answers
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Names, maps for Milky Way dust clouds?

There is a nice image of the Milky Way, labeled with constellations, at 360°x45° panorama with constellations: It leads me to wonder how much we know about the Great Rift, Coalsack and other ...
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50 views

Solar time correction due to longitudinal difference

I've been always calculating the correction in solar time due to difference between observer's meridian and the meridian on which the local standard time is based using the following formula "Design ...
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1answer
542 views

What is the future of gravitional lensing? [closed]

What do physicists expect to find or accomplish with gravitational lensing in the next 15 years? Is there a specific type of object, or a concept that they are looking for?
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8k views

How fast will the sun become a red giant?

I've read many accounts of our sun's distant fate, but what I've never heard is on what time scale these events occur. For instance, when the sun runs out of hydrogen, I presume it doesn't just WHAM! ...
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1answer
63 views

Observed gravity of Venus aside from the Magellan probe

I have been searching but cannot seem to find it. I would like to know what the surface gravity of Venus has been observed to be from different missions/probes that were sent to Venus on separate ...
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2answers
112 views

Could some astronomical objects have superconducting properties?

The colder it is, the more efficient the superconductivity process works. And as we know, if there is no star nearby, space gets pretty cold. I do appreciate that many condensed, burnt out, stars ...
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2answers
96 views

Is it possible to build an optical system that increases the perceived surface brightness?

So is it possbile to build a system from lenses and mirrors that can make faint gas nebulas brighter or can be used as nightvision? If you increase the size of the aperture of a telescope it will ...
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0answers
63 views

Does the Earth's moon have a moon of it's own?

Out of simple curiosity, does anybody know if any searches have been done to check on the possibility that the earth's moon has a moon of it's own? Excluding man made objects, of course. I would ...
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2answers
303 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 ...
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237 views

Precession of Mercury (Python simulation)

I was trying to simulate the precession of Mercury based on the perturbed solution, and my questions about its implementation in python can be seen here: ...
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1answer
48 views

Would the Hubble Space Telescope be of benefit for optical astronomy at Lagrangian L5 point?

The Hubble Space Telescope will enter a decaying orbit in 2024. This is a physics based question, so I don't want to get into the engineering details more than necessary. Just for background, the ...
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1answer
70 views

Do Massive Twin Quasar Jets Condense into separate Spiral Galaxies?

I was looking at a quasar, radio image of “Cygnus A”. Do the massive twin quasar jets condense into two separate galaxies? Do the average twin quasar jet emissions, plasma, condense, turn into ...
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131 views

Mass-to-light ratio and rotation curve from brightness profile

This should probably be basic but I've been looking for days and I can't find how to (I'm probably over complicating, but still). I want to calculate a rotation curve for some spiral galaxies. From ...
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138 views

What is the reason we originally and still use the non-SI unit, the Jansky?

The Jansky is the unit for spectral flux density. It is defined as $$1 {\rm \ Jy} = 10^{-26} {\rm W \ m^{-2} \ Hz^{-1}}$$ in terms of Watts per square meter per Hertz. I've never quite understood ...