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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The ever increasing pull of a black hole

If something is caught in the pull of a black hole and keeps accelerating it can't keep accelerating with no limits or else it would accelerate beyond c. So is there a limit on how fast acceleration ...
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108 views

Harvesting hydrogen from a star

I've been thinking about what highly technologically advanced civilisations would do once their energy requirements become comparable to the total output of a star, and how such activity could be ...
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56 views

2D Sérsic equation [closed]

The 1D Sérsic equation for disk galaxies is $I(r) = I_0 \exp[{-(r/h)^{1/n}}]$ I'm testing some profile extraction and fitting routines on 2D models and I just can't get my head around transforming it ...
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35 views

In astronomy, what is a 'reflex orbit'?

In astronomy, what is a reflex orbit? The term is used in one of my books, but u don't find a definition for it. Googling it gives me articles about 'Oculocardiac reflex' which is not what I want. ...
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60 views

Luminosity, brightness and magnitdes in cosmology

I just started learning Cosmology and am confused with these terms. What I know so far: Luminosity $(L)$ is the energy output (inc. visible light, radiation etc.) per unit time of a star. It is an ...
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27 views

How much cheaper and smaller on average is SiPM technology over conventional PMTs?

I've heard it said that some of the major advantages of silicon photomultipliers are its low cost and compactness when compared to widely used photomultiplier tubes, but haven't found much information ...
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24 views

Can a gas be modelled as a low density blackbody, if we want to consider how detectable it will be in space?

The answer to this question taught me about the sort of parameters I need to consider if I want to consider how "detectable" an object in space is. I want to consider the detectability of a ...
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108 views

Of the 9096 visible stars — 90% are how close?

I was on a beach on a tropical island one night and, of course, the night sky was magnificent. It got me thinking: I want to point to a star and say with $90$% certainty that it is probably $x$ ...
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29 views

Will any massless particle/object in the vacuum of space always travel at the speed of light? [duplicate]

The question as stated above, is "Will any massless particle/object in the vacuum of space always travel at the speed of light?"
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97 views

Did light already experience death of the universe immediately after the Big Bang?

Let's suppose that I am on Point A with a light-beam launcher. My goal is to launch a beam of light to Point B, which is about 8,000 quadrillion light years away. My friend named Jack is at Point B ...
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142 views

How big would a solar sail need to be to be detected from the orbit of Pluto?

Suppose we made a solar sail out of a highly reflective material. How big would that solar sail have to be for the Hubble Space Telescope to detect it visually at the average distance of Pluto?
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73 views

Seeing the shadow of a black hole

Why can't we see the shadow of a black hole cast on earth. Shouldn't the black hole block some light from a star or a galaxy far behind as they line up.
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How did Kepler infer three-dimensional positions from Tycho Brahe's data?

This has bugged me for some time. Tycho Brahe's data on planetary observations, presumably, consisted of the direction in which a planet was observed at a given date and time. What techniques did ...
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54 views

Getting signals from a probe light years away

Is it only because we don't have fast enough spacecrafts that we don't send probes to nearby stars? Do we have sufficient radio technology? If a probe like new horizons was as far as the nearest ...
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1answer
70 views

Confusion with the meaning of CMB

We say that CMB is the radiation leftover from big bang. When we measure the radiations i.e., the flux of photons in a given microwave range (say 0.1cm to 70cm, for example), in deep sky, there are ...
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44 views

Calculating the size of exoplanets with moons

When astronomers detect an exoplanet using its transit and calculate its size to be, say twice the earths size, do they have any way of knowing that its actually not a slightly smaller planet with a ...
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121 views

How can an event happening 5.5 billion light years away be witnessed in “real-time”?

This article https://www.ras.org.uk/news-and-press/2578-cosmic-radio-burst-caught-red-handed states that "These bursts were generally discovered weeks or months or even more than a decade after ...
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50 views

Finding the temperature of Earth from temperature of Mars and its distance from Sun [closed]

I am to compute the temperature of planet--in fact I've already found out it's Earth--knowing only: the surface temperature of Mars (210 K) and its distance from Sun (1.524 AU) and of course ...
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132 views

In a random direction, am I more likely to find a dwarf or giant galaxy?

First a couple of disclaimers: My title explains the idea of my question, but I will pose it slightly differently to make it less subjective. This ends up being in the style of a homework exercise ...
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1answer
54 views

What is a geocentric altitude?

In NAO TN no.69, Yallop defines ARCV as geocentric difference in altitude between the centre of the Sun and the centre of the Moon for a given latitude and longitude, ignoring the effects of ...
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28 views

Origin of the shape of the planets [duplicate]

Looking at our 8 planets over the years has left me a huge unanswered question. I know these planets compared to space is like a grain of sand on our entire planet. All the planets have the basic ...
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2answers
141 views

What parameters control the amount of thermal energy an object must possess for it to be detectable in space?

What parameters control the amount of thermal energy a space object must possess for it to be detectable by a sensor also in space (i.e. one that does not have to deal with interference from a ...
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375 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 ...
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285 views

How were the ratios of distances between planets and the Sun first calculated?

I was reading some literature and I found that long before the actual distances between other planets and Earth or distance between Sun and Earth were known, physicists had calculated the ratios ...
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1answer
182 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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54 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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37 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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66 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 ...
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312 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 ...
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126 views

Cosmic rays and neutrinos

I'm reading Gaggero's Cosmic Ray Diffusion in the Galaxy and Diffuse Gamma Emission and he makes the claim, ...the definitive proof of [Cosmic Ray proton acceleration in supernova remnants] would ...
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3answers
956 views

What is the most compelling evidence of General Relativity in the presence of matter and energy?

The most oft-cited triumphs of GR are things such as the shifting perihelion of Mercury, gravitational redshift experiments, and gravitational lensing. But, as far as I know, these are only ...
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139 views

Resolving power of ultra-telescopes [duplicate]

Assuming we could create and orbit optical telescopes of arbitrary size, perhaps starting with (say) inflatables or active membrane of 100m diameter what kind of resolution in imaging extra-solar ...
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308 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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300 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 ...
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1answer
57 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 ...
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1answer
76 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 ...
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385 views

What does this stellar mass distribution mean?

According to this pie above and for the "Red Dwarfs" part, which of these is correct : 1) 41% of the stellar mass of a galaxy is in stars with masses < $0.25$ $M_{\odot}$ or 2) 41% of the ...
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165 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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39 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?
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61 views

If we increase the aperture of a telescope and decrease its magnification, can it be harmful to the eyes?

The full moon is the brightest object in the night sky. I believe that if we increase the aperture of the objective, and decrease the magnification of the telescope, it might concentrate a dangerous ...
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1answer
78 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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1answer
96 views

According to the initial mass function, should there be more brown dwarfs than red dwarfs?

According to the IMF and the stellar mass distribution, stars become more abundant the less massive they are. And while objects must have a mass > 0.075 solar mass to become a star, brown dwarfs with ...
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1k 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: ...
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1answer
87 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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1k views

What is the luminosity of the Milky Way galaxy?

The luminosity of the Milky Way galaxy according to this is $5\times10^{36}$ Watts, but this number suggests that there are about 10 billion stars with Solar luminosities in the Milky Way, which ...
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1answer
109 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. ...
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2answers
3k 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 ...
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3answers
263 views

How far has a 13.7 billion year old photon travelled

I've read that the size of the observable Universe is thought to be around ~46 billion light years, and that the light we see from the most distant galaxies were emitted ~13.7 billion years ago as a ...
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98 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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115 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 ...