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 fast do large asteroids usually travel?

I have just watched this video made by discovery channel, and you can hear the narrator at 0:51 saying that : "even though it is moving at 720 THOUSANDS kilometers per hour..." I stopped once I heard ...
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457 views

Magnitude of New Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON)

A new comet (magnitude 18.8) has been discovered beyond the orbit of Jupiter. Comet ISON will get within 0.012 AU of the Sun by the end of November 2013 and ~0.4 AU from of Earth early in January ...
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637 views

Optimal telescope size?

Consider a diffraction-limited telescope with unobstructed aperture $D$. Such a scope is capable of yielding an angular resolution $\alpha$ that scales as $\lambda/D$, with $\lambda$ denoting the ...
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1answer
163 views

Is it feasible to measure the energy of cosmic ray muons with a consumer Digital Single Lens Reflex camera?

I have read this article SIBBERNSEN, Kendra. Catching Cosmic Rays with a DSLR. Astronomy Education Review, 2010, 9: 010111. and it talks about estimating the muon cosmic ray flux by means of a DSLR ...
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2answers
712 views

What is meant by positive and negative gravity/energy/spactimecurvature?

I have recently come across some cosmological assertions (based on empirical data) about the universe being self contained in the sense that it is entirely capable of coming into existence from a ...
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1answer
145 views

“Cloud maps” of a nearby brown dwarf: what do they actually show?

This paper recently made headlines: A global cloud map of the nearest known brown dwarf. I. J. M. Crossfield et al. Nature 505, 654–656 (30 January 2014). In short, they claim they've been able ...
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3answers
56 views

Are our telescopes capable of taking actual images of brown dwarfs?

One nice result from NASA's WISE infrared survey of the sky is the discovery of particularly cool (as in 'not very warm') stars, now called 'Y dwarfs'. This was reported, for example, in NASA's ...
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1answer
166 views

When Venus is the brightest when viewed from Earth?

Nowadays Venus is very bright. I can spot it during broad daylight without problem. It's because it's near Earth and appear as a crescent. This made me think: as it's reaching the inferior ...
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1answer
342 views

Center of Mass of two planets

The formula for calculating the center of mass is $$ r_{center} = \frac{m_1 \cdot r_1 + m_2 \cdot r_2}{m_1+m_2} $$ Why can't I use it to calculate the barycentre of two planets? I understand how ...
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4answers
5k views

Why is a new moon not the same as a solar eclipse?

Forgive the elementary nature of this question: Because a new moon occurs when the moon is positioned between the earth and sun, doesn't this also mean that somewhere on the Earth, a solar eclipse ...
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65 views

How to measure distances to stars by means of spectroscopic parallaxes?

How to measure distances to stars by means of spectroscopic parallaxes on practice? What is the accuracy of measuring distances using this method compared with distances based on HIPPARCOS ...
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4answers
837 views

How would we see a near-lightspeed object emitting light?

Consider an object travelling near the speed of light relative to us (let it be a spaceship or a star), which is emitting light (consider it monochromatic resulting from a two level electronic ...
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1answer
114 views

How long would it take for a galaxy to collapse without dark matter?

I am trying to understand the effects of gravity in the Cosmos without complications of Dark Matter/Dark energy issues. So my question is, assuming that a galaxy (for example, the Milky Way) does not ...
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1answer
89 views

absorption and emission lines in Cassiopeia A hydrogen spectrum

we recently took a tour to a radio telescope and recorded some spectra, one of them being Cassiopeia A. Looking at the difference in on-source and off-source spectra, we find sharp absorption and ...
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1answer
1k views

What happened to Apollo's Saturn-third-stage rockets?

I read recently the original Apollo 11 press release and it mentions that the Saturn V's third stage (used for Trans-Lunar Injection) was deployed into a solar orbit of some kind: (Source: Press ...
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1answer
174 views

Velocity distribution in Plummer's models and others mass distributions

The Plummer's sphere is an model for the mass density in a globular cluster of stars. For an $N$-body simulation I have initialized the position of $N$ masses with a Monte-Carlo technique but cannot ...
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2answers
152 views

Gravitational field has no curl? What about gas discs around stars, black holes, etc.?

So everybody says the gravitational field has no curl, and is not comparable to a liquid swirling around a drain. Observationally, of course, there are many examples of vector fields (which I think ...
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1answer
33 views

What compact central objects younger than the crab pulsar have been seen?

We see the crab pulsar, we don't see any compact remnant from Supernova 1987A. I can't find any others, but I believe they exist. Help?
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8answers
16k views

Why CAN we see the new moon at night?

I understand that the Moon's phases are determined by its position in orbit relative to the Sun. (See: Full Story on the Moon). The "shadow" is not cast by the Earth (a common misconception - this is ...
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1answer
44 views

Relation between red filter band and redshift?

I am interested in knowing what is the significance of red filter band in the study of redshift dependence of spatial orientation of galaxies?
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1answer
2k views

What's the difference between a red giant and a red supergiant?

I've seen both theoretical and observational definitions of stars. For example, an AGB star is a star where two sets of nuclear reactions (helium to carbon and hydrogen to helium) are taking place in ...
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2answers
240 views

The validity of the Longitude of Perihelion

As I understand it from Astronomical Algorithms, by Jean Meeus, the Longitude of Perihelion is a very common numeric value associated with planets, even used as one of the planetary orbital elements. ...
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1answer
87 views

Relation of fraction of binary stars with spectral class (mass)

What is relation of fraction of binary stars with spectral class (mass)? For example, how many binary stars are among O,B,A,F,G,K,M stars separately?
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4answers
1k views

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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2answers
797 views

If the moon was twice as big but twice as far away, would there be any difference?

I'm just going to go ahead and steal this question question directly of Reddit since I have more trust in the answers I get on this site. So, if the moon was twice as big but also twice as far way, ...
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5answers
3k views

Does Earth have a code name?

Everything we discover in the sky get eventually a code name, like NGC 7293, Simeis 147, etc. Does Earth/Moon have a code name too? Or it is just Earth/Moon, etc.?
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1answer
256 views

What is the percentage of stars with planetary systems

We have discovered quite a number of exoplanets to date. The Kepler spacecraft has examined 150,000 stars and found 1,059 exoplanets. We know that Kepler, as well as all other exoplanet searches to ...
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2answers
78 views

How to produce a loss-free combination of two “identical” beams?

This is for anyone with experience in optics/imaging/photography as well as anyone who likes to puzzle over tricky physics problems. As the title suggests, this is about combining two (for all ...
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1answer
3k views

How much sky do we see at any one moment?

When we look at any particular point the sky, what percentage of the celestial sphere do we see? This question arises from the notion that on average there passes one meteor per hour overhead. So ...
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1answer
63 views

Precision of spectroscopy for astronomy

How precise can the measurements be when looking at spectral lines in astrophysics? For example, suppose I have a telescope in orbit, and I am looking at $H_\alpha$ lines coming from a star at 613 ...
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1answer
64 views

Are there any “Neutrinian” standard candles?

Are there any theoretical models/investigations of object far away that could act as some type of neutrinian standard candles? That is, they spew out neutrinos of with some know characteristics that ...
3
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1answer
55 views

Are initial mass functions summable?

I tried to sum up two weight ranges of the IMF which wouldn't not work so my question is, if I'm doing something wrong. Let's say my weight ranges are $\left[X M_{\mbox{sun}}, Y ...
2
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1answer
159 views

Stable and Unstable Orbital Resonance

I was wondering if anyone can show me why some orbital resonances are unstable. For example in the asteroid belt there is a depleted distribution at 3:1 resonance with jupiter. What is the cause of ...
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2answers
550 views

Calculating the illumination of the moon

I am trying to find a formula that will enable me to calculate the illumination of the moon down to one thousandth of a percent, given that the Gregorian year, month, day, and hour is known. Can ...
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3answers
4k views

Why does Venus rotate the opposite direction as other planets?

Given: Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum. Reverse spinning with dense atmosphere (92 times > Earth & CO2 dominant sulphur based). Surface same degree of aging all over. Hypothetical large ...
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5answers
2k views

Where can I find public domain astronomical pictures?

Where can I find public domain astronomical pictures of nebulae, stars, etc. that can be freely used?
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1answer
78 views

How close would Earth have to be for us to detect it was habitable, and then inhabited?

Given our current technology (or technology that is near implementation), how close would a clone of our Solar System (and so also Earth) have to be to us in order to detect that the cloned Earth was ...
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3answers
208 views

How early might a moon-sized asteroid be detected?

If an enormous asteroid, approximately the size of our moon (~2000-mile diameter), was passing close to Earth, how early might we detect something that large? Or alternatively, how close could ...
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3answers
404 views

Winter solstice, sunrise and sunset time

We all know the Winter Solstice comes on December the 20th or 21st, which is (by definition) the shortest day of the year. The Winter Solstice day is not the day of the year the Sun rises later (that ...
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3answers
778 views

Converting between Galactic and Ecliptic coordinates

I was hoping someone would be able to tell me the formula to convert between ecliptic and galactic coordinates. I've been able to convert values using ...
2
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2answers
82 views

Emission and absorption spectra of sun

I heard in a documentary that the elements of the sun can be read out from the absorption lines. But I have also heard that an elements absorption lines and emission lies coincide. That means the sun ...
2
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1answer
74 views

Radio vs optical telescope imaging

As I understand, the visible light from an optical telescope is focused on a sensor which correlates light exposure to an electrical voltage, which is then converted to an image. A single antenna ...
11
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3answers
1k views

Is it possible to see satellites with the naked eye?

Every now and then I notice some very bright "stars" in the sky. They tend to be very few (one or two, usually), and are quite much brighter than any other star out there. Often they're perfectly ...
14
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2answers
406 views

Why don't any of the gas giants have moons of Earth's mass (or greater) that orbit them? Is this generalizable to exoplanet gas giants?

Now, we know that the composition of the outer planets tend to contain a much higher ratio of ice over rock. [1] So the lack of Earth-like moons around the outer planets that this could be an artifact ...
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0answers
157 views

Reference request: Hollow concave Earth hypothesis

Reference request concerning the Hollow concave Earth hypothesis. I am searching for this paper: A Geocosmos: Mapping Outer Space Into a Hollow Earth authored by M. Abdelkader and published in ...
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5answers
1k views

Recommended first accessories for starblast 4.5

My son got an orion starblast 4.5 for Christmas. It comes with orion explorer II 17mm and 6mm eyepieces. We are looking at some additional accessories and wondering what you would recommend as "first ...
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2answers
366 views

Shining object in the sky resembling a star

From last 2 days I am observing a shiny star like shining object in the sky in almost same place at same time. Is there any possibility that it could be a satellite? Will satellite shine like a star ...
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2answers
237 views

Do green stars exists?

I asked a university lecturer why we don't observe green stars, and he said the blackbody curve averages at that frequency such that the cones in our eyes don't recognise it. I have a hunch that ...
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10k views

How long does it take to travel 36 light years with tolerable acceleration and deceleration?

The recent discovery of HD85512b only 36 light years from Earth has promising attributes to harbor life. Assuming we want to travel there, we cannot instantaneously jump to light speed, (StarTrek ...
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When viewed from a telescope, does an object get more magnified if its angular diameter is increased?

and if yes, how can the diameter be increased? Lets say I want to view saturn from a small telescope. Increasing the angular diameter will give a better magnification if the answer to the above ...