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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6
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1answer
73 views

How far can one look into space while relying on light in the visual spectrum?

Put the other way around. From how far does visible light reach the Earth to be observable by a telescope that operates in this spectrum? Gas clouds for instance absorb light. A star behind such a ...
0
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0answers
21 views

How I can measure the statistical errors of my catalog in Astronomy

I have a catalog including information about position, magnitude, and redshift of galaxies in one patch of sky. I need to be sure about the complementary of my catalog about detecting objects. How I ...
5
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2answers
200 views

Is a total solar eclipse a common phenomenon?

Is our moon "special" for creating a total solar eclipse? Is it common or rather rare for a moon to create a total solar eclipse the way our moon does, with corona and such?
5
votes
3answers
2k views

How to measure the diameter of a star?

I am thinking about something I read somewhere (if only I could find it again) in a textbook. It is about the size of a star and its ER peaks. It has to do with the waves coming off the edge (maybe) ...
4
votes
2answers
143 views

How to measure declination of sun and moon?

I came by some graphs showing the declination for sun and moon (between angles of -30° and +30°). The graphs look very much like sine waves. I googled a bit and read about what the declination is, ...
8
votes
2answers
201 views

Why is the summer, in the temperate latitudes, in average, hotter that the spring?

It is common knowledge that the transition from the Spring to the Summer season occurs in the Summer Solstice when the "Sun reaches its highest excursion relative to the celestial equator on the ...
1
vote
1answer
127 views

Weather difference on Mars compared to Earth

How the weather on Mars differs from here on Earth? In here you see that weather on Earth is Hurricanes, typhoons and tornadoes a real problem. Disgustingly interminable fog in coastal ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

Does the sun's bearing at a given time vary, and if so, how?

More an astronomy question, but Physics is the closest stack exchange category I could find and Google doesn't have the answer. Granted, the sun's elevation changes for a given time of day throughout ...
4
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1answer
521 views

When does a planet become a star?

How big can a gas giant become before it's considered a star? How does the theoretical maximum compare the observed maximum?
6
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1answer
85 views

Are there rogue planets between Sun and Proxima Centauri?

Would we be able to detect (via emitted radiation, or its gravity) a rogue planet between us and Proxima Centauri? How big would that planet need to be?
0
votes
1answer
225 views

What is the 1977 Wow signal? [closed]

Can someone explain about the 1977 Wow signal? I know that it is a signal received from space in 1977, in the form of a series of code "6EQUJ5". I would like to know if there is any thing or event ...
1
vote
1answer
115 views

Why does earth spins? [duplicate]

I understand the governing force causing the earth's cycle around the sun is gravity. It can be described by Keplar's law. But what causes the earth's spin? what is its governing law?
-1
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2answers
111 views

Galaxy rotation equation problem

I would like to know if in this equation for the rotation of galaxies: $$v^2=\frac{GM}r.$$ Is $M$ the mass of the black hole at the center of our galaxy? Someone said to me that No, $M$ is the ...
20
votes
8answers
7k views

Can Jupiter be ignited?

Our solar system itself contains two candidate "Earths" One is Jupiter's moon Europa and another is Saturn's moon Titan. Both of them have the problem of having at low temperature as Sun's heat ...
12
votes
2answers
10k views

Is the moon a planet?

Can our moon qualify as a planet? With regard or without regard to the exact definition of the planet, can the moon be considered as planet as Mercury, Venus and Earth etc. not as the satellite of the ...
3
votes
1answer
110 views

How long in advance can dates of moon phases be accurately predicted?

When researching an article on Chinese New Year I found a few websites that predict the dates of Chinese New Year (CNY) tens - or sometimes even hundreds - of years in advance. I´m wondering how many ...
2
votes
3answers
396 views

Why wasn't the moon visible during the day a few decades ago?

I was born in 1949. When I was young we played outside and watched the clouds and the sky a lot, and I don't remember ever seeing the moon during the day. Is the sun closer to us now so we see it more ...
3
votes
1answer
162 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.
1
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0answers
62 views

equatorial-supergalactic conversion

What are the conversion formulas from equatorial to supergalactic coordinate system. Thanks for any help.
2
votes
2answers
222 views

Dark age of universe when all fusion process ceases?

Some say we live in the golden age of the universe because there exits countless number of stars that shines in the dark universe. As the supply of gas for star formation is steadily being exhausted, ...
1
vote
1answer
491 views

Analogy between magnetic bottle and Van Allen's radiation belt

A magnetic bottle is an arrangement that permits to confine charged particles. Here you can find a review for charged particle rotating in a magnetic field and at the bottom of the page a description ...
1
vote
1answer
188 views

What is the correct Orientation of Earth's Rotational-axis w.r.t Ecliptic at Equinox?

I am boggled with the position of earth relative to the sun at the "Equinoxes". According to the wikipedia: an equinox occurs twice a year (around 20 March and 22 September), when the tilt of ...
5
votes
0answers
130 views

Suntan: UV absorption vs daytime

I guess that these questions were being asked by many people on the Northern Hemisphere during this summer (and other summers) and someone may give a nice, coherent answer. The general question is how ...
5
votes
2answers
88 views

How many watts of light do instruments in modern telescopes need?

I just calculated that if the European extremely large telescope(978 m^2 area) would be pointed at the Andromeda galaxy once it is built, it will only get mere 1.2*10^-6 Watts of power from Andromeda. ...
25
votes
3answers
1k views

Why are there no asteroids or meteoroids with relativistic speeds?

Cosmic rays can have energies going into the $10^{20}$ eV domain. Asteroids and meteoroids originating in the solar system are probably limited in their speed because they all started out from the ...
9
votes
1answer
332 views

Do any naked-eye stars have planets

Are there any known exoplanets around naked-eye stars? I know that Fomalhaut has a planet, and Vega has a dust belt that may be a protoplanetary disk or even analogous to our Kuiper belt. What else is ...
0
votes
1answer
77 views

Is the fraction of radioactive isotopes on the near side of the moon higher than on the far side?

As time passes more slowly in a region of space close to the source of a gravitational field, shouldn't the moon, which always has one side facing towards the earth, have a higher fraction of ...
5
votes
2answers
168 views

Celestial Time-Keeping and Navigation

Say, for sake of argument, someone was randomly transported in time and space. Would it be possible for them to determine their location on Earth and the current time using just observations of the ...
4
votes
1answer
163 views

What do you call the period after sunrise when the sky is bright?

At sunrise, the sky isn't actually up in the sky yet. Twilight occurs before sunrise, then at sunrise the leading part of the sun crosses the horizon. But, the sky isn't bright yet. It takes some time ...
0
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0answers
47 views

Why stars twinkle but planets don't? [duplicate]

I am not from a physics background. I came to know this while studying probability? Is this because the planets are nearer than the stars so we get average behaviour rather than random. Is law of ...
0
votes
1answer
239 views

Large-Scale-Structure (LSS) and the Fingers-of-God

In the Large-Scale-Structure (LSS) artifacts named fingers-of-god are apparent in the redshift space and justified by "The large velocities that lead to this effect are associated with the ...
8
votes
2answers
162 views

How fast is the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) changing?

I know that the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) is the leftover radiation from the "surface of last scattering". However, at every instant the surface is changing (at the rate of flow ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

How dense are nebulae?

How functionaly dense are nebulae? Are they so sparse they are only visible from an interstellar or intergalactic perspective or would you be unable to see your hand in one? Do they vary widely in ...
2
votes
2answers
85 views

Is there a star catalog for download?

Is there a downloadable star catalog which not only includes positions, but also spectral class, size, etc.? A CSV file would be great for the sake of easiness.
3
votes
1answer
79 views

Looking for a resource that explains all colors and shapes of stars and galaxies

I've been looking at some of the astronomy pictures of the day from NASA. They all have content that is indicative of certain situations or events. Supernovas have the scattered lines look, new stars ...
6
votes
4answers
853 views

Astronomy Experiments for Amateurs

Are there any resources online for astronomy experiments that I can perform myself? I am looking if anyone knows any measurements to take while looking for various objects during the evening ...
2
votes
2answers
287 views

How to calculate the amount of night time during a flight?

I have been asked to find a way to calculate the amount of time that a flight takes during night time. So far, I have the departure latitude and longitude and the time of takeoff, the arrival ...
1
vote
0answers
71 views

Why is infrared imagery of Mars' surface sharper / richer in contrast than that from the visible spectrum?

Looking at the terrain of Mars through Google Mars, it seems to me that the infrared imagery is much crisper, the images from the visible spectrum seem to be somewhat hazy. I'm wondering if that is ...
12
votes
6answers
3k views

Why are the orbits of planets in the Solar System nearly circular?

Except for Mercury, the planets in the Solar System have very small eccentricities. Is this property special to the Solar System? Wikipedia states: Most exoplanets with orbital periods of 20 ...
17
votes
5answers
292 views

Why don't we have a better telescope than the Hubble Space Telescope?

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was launched in 1990, more than 20 years ago, but I know that it was supposed to be launched in 1986, 24 years ago. Since it only took 66 years from the fist plane to ...
8
votes
1answer
370 views

Why are telescopes on top of Mauna Kea instead of Mauna Loa?

Many large and important telescopes are located on top of Mauna Kea on Hawaii. This is a great location for many reasons: it's tall enough to be above the weather, an inversion layer at night keeps ...
5
votes
4answers
942 views

Is there such a thing as “North” in outerspace?

On Earth, North is determined by the magnetic poles of our planet. Is there such a thing as "North" in outerspace? To put it another way, is there any other way for astronauts to navigate besides ...
3
votes
2answers
5k views

How is the speed of light calculated?

How is the speed of light calculated? My knowledge of physics is limited to how much I studied till high school. One way that comes to my mind is: if we throw light from one point to another (of known ...
5
votes
0answers
237 views

Mirrors and light beam divergence technology limits

There are many applications for orbital space mirrors in astronomy (better telescopes) and space propulsion (solar power for deep space probes), but this is limited by the minimum beam divergence ...
4
votes
2answers
229 views

How many stars did people think there were in the 11th century (or thereabouts)?

I hope this isn't too off-topic. Someone showed me a reference to a French, 11th century biblical commentator who implied that there were over 600,000 stars. This got me thinking, how many stars did ...
13
votes
10answers
217 views

In astronomy what phenomena have theory predicted before observations?

As far as I know, astronomy is generally an observational science. We see something and then try to explain why it is happening. The one exception that I know of is black holes: first it was thought ...
3
votes
1answer
65 views

Primary direction in planet-centered equatorial reference frame

I am given the classical orbital elements of the orbit of a spacecraft around a planet which is not the Earth, say Venus. I assume those are referred to a reference frame whose fundamental plane is ...
1
vote
0answers
336 views

Map of the gravitational strength of the solar system

I am looking for a map or plot of the gravitational strength in the solar system. In an ideal world there should be something like google earth to move around in the solar system, zoom in and out and ...
8
votes
1answer
181 views

How can one get the eccentricity of the orbit of the Sun around center of the Milky Way?

How can one get the eccentricity of the orbit of the Sun around center of the Milky Way? Can it be measured?
1
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1answer
64 views

Astronomical measurements and data

For the sub-nuclear physics there is a database of the Particle Data Group, I was wondering if there was a similar on-line collection for astrophysics, such as energy absorption and emission spectra ...