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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Reduced Chi-Square - How to compare values?

I've got two models of velocity curves fitting a Low Surface Brightness (LSB) galaxy: one is MOND-like, the other ΛCDM. I've fit them both with Chi-Square minimization. I understand the winning ...
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2answers
322 views

How accurately could we theoretically see into far space?

Travels to different galaxies are strongly limited by the speed of light. Unless we find a way to travel through space with some wormholes, we will never reach planets in another galaxy. But what ...
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1answer
53 views

Have we observed sufficient extra-solar planetary systems to establish a planetary distribution pattern? [duplicate]

From Kepler And Extra-Solar Planetary Observations As of January 2015, Kepler and its follow-up observations had found 1,013 confirmed exoplanets in about 440 stellar systems, along with a further ...
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2answers
152 views

Why is “gravitational” red-shift neglected in galaxy and galaxy cluster scales?

The red-shift of the light of a star in a galaxy or that of a galaxy in a cluster of galaxies is generally interpreted as how fast the star or the galaxy is moving, i.e. it is interpreted in a purely ...
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2answers
73 views

How we are able to see stars in night, even if they are light years away from earth? [closed]

I am wondering, how we are able to see so much stars in the sky even though they are light years away from us. Even light take years to reach from those stars to earth? Then, how we are seeing those ...
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3answers
2k views

Are there any exact data about Earth's orbit?

Wikipedia says that the Earth's orbit's axis is $a=149\ 598\ 000\ \mathrm{km}$ and its eccentricity is $e=0.016\ 7086$, but if we use these values to find distance at aphelion and perihelion we get ...
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1answer
45 views

How do space probes identify molecules?

How does a space probe identify molecules without actually obtaining the molecules? The common identification techniques I can think of are spectroscopy and magnetic resonance, but for both of them, ...
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1answer
152 views

What is the curve that describes the Daytime line in a Day and Night World Map?

A Day and Night World Map shows which parts of the Earth are in daylight and which are in night at a given instant. At one side of the Daytime line they are in daylight and at the other side they are ...
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63 views

Bulge-Disk decomposition in galaxies

I'm starting a new project on dark matter astrophysics in which I have to extract from some data (I will write some below) the surface brightness, to later construct the mass density profiles of de ...
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2answers
267 views

How long would it take to see the nearest star die?

If you were in the general proximity to the nearest star to Earth (besides the Sun) and you saw it turn to a neutron star or black hole at the very end of it's star cycle, how much longer would it ...
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1answer
101 views

Gas Mass Calcuation in Galaxy Cluster

Rob Jeffries found this document for me that describes how the X-Ray emissions from galaxy clusters are used to calculate the mass of the cluster. I'm unable to follow the steps to calculating the gas ...
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2answers
112 views

What is meant by the velocity of a star?

I recently read somewhere that among other things like size, radius, distance from earth, luminosity, age, etc of a star, velocity was another variable. What is exactly meant by the velocity of a ...
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1answer
95 views

Are we looking at single stars, or solar systems?

When looking at the night sky, the stars we can see just look like single dots. Are they alone in space- each one a single object? Or, when we look at a star, are we actually looking at a distant ...
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2answers
28 views

What type of observational constraints are there for reionization?

What type of observational evidence is used to constrain reionization? At what redshift?
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0answers
28 views

Information Brought by Electromagnetic Waves

Is it possible for a Technologically Advanced Civilization to watch in "Real Time" events of the Earth History? Let me be more specific: Let us suppose a civilization who resides on a sphere in the ...
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1answer
43 views

Earth precession

I got a bit confused while studying the tropical and sidereal years. I noticed that the Earth's precession is in the opposite direction than that of a top's precession, when their rotational direction ...
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43 views

SOHO solar observatory, comet numbers and composition

SOHO discovered its 3,000th comet, cementing its standing as the greatest comet finder of all time. Prior to the 1995 launch of the observatory, commonly known as SOHO, only a dozen or so comets ...
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2answers
31 views

How to measure the spectra of the stars

I recently made a mini spectrometer using a CD. I have used that to measure the spectrum of the Sun, moon and various artificial light sources. My question is how can I use it or modify it to measure ...
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25 views

Size of meteor-made crater [duplicate]

I am reading "What if" piece https://what-if.xkcd.com/20/ and I am very interested in how can one ever estimate the size of a crater? How can you ever know, it must depend on energy of a falling body ...
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1answer
108 views

Can the Earth be seen to transit the sun from the outer planets?

Transit of Mercury as seen from Mars The Curiosity rover on the planet Mars observed the planet Mercury transiting the Sun, marking the first time a planetary transit has been observed from a ...
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1answer
54 views

NED vs. SIMBAD: Which is more accurate?

I'm doing some research on M33. NED lists the luminosity as 6.27. SIMBAD gives it as 5.27. First, it looks odd to me that the difference is exactly 1. Second, I've seen other differences comparing ...
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1answer
116 views

SDSS spectra FITS format: what do the rows mean?

This might be in the FITS Header, but I couldn't find it. I am looking at the FITS files for SDSS 1D spectro images from DR7 using the SDSS Data Archive Server at das.sdss.org (there might be an ...
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3answers
6k views

Why are there no stars visible in this photograph?

Pluto and Charon, photo taken by New Horizons on July 8, 2015 from a distance of 6 gigameters. it's hard for me to believe there were no stars behind the twin dwarf planets in the field of vision. ...
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2answers
160 views

What is the definition of $[\alpha/H]$?

The notation $[A/B]$ denotes \begin{equation} [A/B] = \text{log}_{10}\Big[\frac{\text{(number of A atoms/number of B atoms)}_{\ *}}{\text{(number of A atoms/number of B atoms)}_{\ \odot}}\Big] ...
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2answers
87 views

Why do so many galaxies in clusters have a near zero velocity?

I'm looking at a velocity chart of the Coma Cluster: And the question occurred to me: why are there so many galaxies that have a zero velocity (relative to the core of the Coma Cluster which is ...
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1answer
110 views

The James Webb Telescope, why are there 5 levels of protecting foil?

From simple curiosity, does anybody know why there are around 5 layers of solar radiation reflecting foil on the James Webb Telescope, rather than one or two? Is it to save weight, or (probably) ...
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1answer
72 views

How to start using IDL in 2015?

Unfortunately it looks like I have to run a bit of old astronomy software on IDL. I keep running into statements that "I need to buy a license" in order to run IDL. Is this true? How can I ...
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48 views

What is the definition of the “stellar angular diameter” in stellar astronomy?

(Following the definitions here: http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0509535.pdf ) What is the "stellar angular diameter", as measured by astronomers specializing in stellar astrophysics? Using the ...
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57 views

Using stellar spectroscopy to measure stellar parameters, why is it log g?

Stellar spectroscopy can in principle measure the stellar surface gravity, radii, effective temperature, and stellar rotation. Why is it that surface gravity g is ...
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23 views

Do the arms of spiral galaxies differ based on the speed of which the galaxy is rotating?

If I were to take a circle with strings attached to it and spin it, the strings would behave differently based on how fast the circle is rotating. Do galaxies behave the same way?
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1answer
72 views

What is Drake equation?

I was reading an article on aliens, where I found something called Drake equation. I tried to understand it, but just couldn't get it in my head, as I belong to class 11. So, can anyone explain me it ...
45
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2answers
6k views

Why are gold mirrors yellow?

Why are golden mirrors yellow? Do they add a yellow component to the spectrum or absorb non-yellow components? If they absorb, then why are they used in telescopes being imperfect? If they add a ...
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1answer
216 views

How to calculate tide times?

How do I calculate the time of the tides at a given location? I'm not interested in the amplitude of the tides, just the times when they occur.
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1answer
66 views

Best telescope for value per dollar? [closed]

recently I'm thinking of buying a telescope for recreational purposes. I'm looking for telescopes that have the highest performance/cost ratio, and I'm willing to spend around $200 on this. Anyone ...
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1answer
32 views

Definition of a Supercluster

A group of astronomers in September 2014 redefined what classifies a supercluster. Before this, the supercluster where the Milky Way resides was the Virgo Supercluster. Now, the Virgo Supercluster ...
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1answer
46 views

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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1answer
99 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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2answers
169 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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20 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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4answers
80 views

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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2answers
45 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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3answers
4k views

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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2answers
280 views

Planetary alignment of the gas giants?

There is this nice and new applet of the orbits of the planets around the sun: Solar System Orrery You can click and drag any planet and watch their relative orbits evolve in time. I was curious ...
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0answers
76 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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1answer
136 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
80 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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8answers
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 ...
2
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48 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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1answer
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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52 views

Thomas precession and neutron star accretion discs

Assuming, based on this wikipedia article Accretion Discs That accretion discs surrounding neutron stars are composed of a gas and / or plasma. That the accretion disc material can achieve a ...