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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4
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1answer
261 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
116 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?
7
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2answers
1k 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, ...
3
votes
1answer
116 views

What is the origin and nature of the “hydrogen envelope” located on the sun side of a comet coma?

It is tempting to assume the origin of the hydrogen is water vapor from the comet, in which case, what process "breaks up" the water molecule (or perhaps ammonia molecule?)? Is the hydrogen actually ...
6
votes
1answer
442 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 ...
2
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2answers
108 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
67 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
59 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 ...
3
votes
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
263 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
94 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 ...
4
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0answers
76 views

Calculus used by Gauss to find Ceres' position?

With very little data, the great mathematician Gauss was able to predict the exact location of where to find the asteroid Ceres. If possible I would like a reconstruction of his work, from the data ...
2
votes
1answer
204 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
107 views

Stellar Power(Luminosity) Flux

So I was applying some mathematical techniques I learned to physics, and one thing that captured my interest, is the power or luminosity flux of a star. So modeling the situation, taking the scalar ...
1
vote
1answer
48 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?
4
votes
2answers
887 views

How is the Earth heated by a Full Moon?

While the moon is certainly not a good reflector of solar radiation, surely the radiation it reflects back heats the Earth (even if it is a terribly small amount). How would one go about calculating ...
13
votes
3answers
445 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
2k 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
votes
2answers
85 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
237 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
484 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
164 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
454 views

Is antumbra part of shadow darker than penumbra part of shadow?

I'm exploring different types of shadows casted by objects. I want to know if antumbra part of a shadow is darker than penumbra part. I've found two misleading pictures on Wikipedia: First: Second: ...
1
vote
0answers
47 views

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 ...
0
votes
2answers
95 views

Length of solid part of object shadow

Little background first: I take part in preparing environmental reports for wind turbines/farms and now I'm exploring shadow flickering effect of moving blades. From some sources (in Polish) I got ...
3
votes
1answer
76 views

What is the space between galactic arms called?

Is there a term referring to space that is inside the plane of a galaxy, but not part of the center/bar/arms/spurs, etc? What's the filler called? The space between two spiral arms (if it isn't a ...
10
votes
1answer
298 views

Does it make sense to continue searching for dark matter on Earth?

The Large Underground Xenon Detector (LUX) recently released results1 that they have found no signs of dark matter2 after a ~3 month search this spring and summer. The LUX group plans to spend all of ...
10
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2answers
2k views

Amateur moon laser ranging

Questions first, then my rough estimations: 1) Is it possible to perform moon laser ranging with amateur motorized 114mm telescope? My calculations suggest that for 1mJ laser it should receive ~2 ...
8
votes
1answer
403 views

How did Eratosthenes know the suns rays are parallel?

Eratosthenes famously observed that the suns rays were perpendicular to the ground in one location, yet non-perpendicular to the ground at a location some miles to the north. On the assumption that ...
1
vote
0answers
43 views

Estimating the Hubble constant of Virgo Cluster questions?

Im estimating the $H_0$ (Hubble constant) using the calculated distance to galaxy (M100) in the Virgo cluster, but given that the cluster is about 1-2 megaparcecs in diameter, what issues can I expect ...
5
votes
1answer
178 views

About the hump on galaxy rotation curves

The past days I have been studying the rotation curves of disk galaxies and I am currently trying to understand how we can extract information about the dark matter of a galaxy by looking its rotation ...
2
votes
1answer
538 views

Calculate the latitude / longitude coordinates of the location where the Sun is at the zenith

There are plenty of resources showing how to calculate zenith and azimuth of the Sun when the time and the location are given. However, I need to calculate the location where the sun is at the ...
5
votes
1answer
190 views

Calculate sunrise, where does the magic numbers come from?

In this question about how to calculate sunrise, there is a link to a page that describes a algorithm to calculate sunrise sunset. But when I start to follow the instructions I find that there is a ...
2
votes
1answer
205 views

Finding Interstellar Extinction Coefficient

I have the following problem for an astrophysics course: A star is seen through a rather dusty region of space has its brightness dimmed by +1 magnitude/kpc, which makes it seem further away ...
7
votes
2answers
280 views

What are the demographics of stars visible to the naked eye?

Of the stars that can be seen with the naked eye, what are the distributions of each type? For example, how many are main sequence? how many are Super Red giants/white dwarfs/neutron stars...etc. ...
1
vote
0answers
61 views

Present experimental status of Moffat's Modified theory of Gravity

Modified theories of Gravity have been discussed before in this 2-year old question, Are modified theories of gravity credible? I was going through Moffat's modified gravity, given in ...
2
votes
1answer
190 views

Analyse astronomical data

Recently I was told of a job offer to analyse astronomical data. The job offer states that they want somebody with knowledge of astronomical data analysis software and it will be a plus somebody who ...
2
votes
0answers
53 views

Where can I get latest full updated list of supernovae candidates from the SDSS-II Supernova Survey?

I am doing a project where I need the list of supernovae candidates from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey II (SDSS-II) supernova survey. One list is available as part of the data-release-7 (DR7) website. ...
1
vote
0answers
54 views

How do you calculate the radiant for Kreutz Sungrazer comets? where in the sky do I look?

According to wikipedia: All known members of the [Kreutz Sungrazer] group up until 1965 had almost identical orbital inclinations at about 144°, as well as very similar values for the ...
10
votes
4answers
904 views

How big should a lens of a telescope be so we can see the American flag on the Moon from the Earth's surface? [duplicate]

How big in diameter should the lens of the imaginary telescope to be so we can see the American flag from e.g. some observatory in Hawaii?
6
votes
1answer
160 views

Why do comets have tails?

There is no atmosphere for comets to get hot and burn and show tails but they still have tails. Why do they? Edit: Isn't the answer "acceleration"?
1
vote
0answers
44 views

When sun is exactly overhead in my place in the tropics [closed]

What formula to use to find dates and times when the sun is exactly overhead in my place in the tropics?
1
vote
1answer
136 views

Does the Sun orbit a much larger nearby star?

EDIT: I got thumbed down, so I removed the details. The question is already crystal clear, IMO.
5
votes
2answers
122 views

When did we learn that stars die?

As we all know, the stars we see in the night sky might already be dead. I was wondering though, when was this fact or conclusion commonly established? Today, most people (let's assume with an above ...
4
votes
1answer
436 views

Can an asteroid have a magnetic field?

Some M-type asteroids are believed to be metallic, even possessing Nickel-Iron. Given the proximity of the asteroid belt to Jupiter's magnetosphere, the regularity of motion of any given M ...
6
votes
3answers
244 views

How do people work out the trajectories of planets and stars just by looking at them?

I've been thinking about how astronomers can look at bright dots in the sky and deduce a whole bunch of things from their movements. I'm particularly interested in how people like Kepler and Galileo, ...
1
vote
2answers
787 views

What is the highest useful magnification todays largest telescopes can offer?

I know that the maximum (useful) magnification is limited by the diffraction limit, but I was not able to find numbers for the highest useful magnification factors using modern large telescopes. How ...
3
votes
0answers
125 views

Maximum-Entropy Method deconvolution implementation?

I am looking for an implementation of the Maximum Entropy Method for image deconvolution, ideally in MATLAB or Mathematica. I'm trying to reconstruct an image from fringe visibilities, as is often ...
4
votes
1answer
159 views

Identifying the position of the moon

I encountered the following question in a previous year paper of a graduation-based test. On a certain night the moon in its waning phase was a half-moon. At midnight the moon will be (choose one ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Galaxy Spectra: Emission and Absorption Lines

Spectra from galaxies include both absorption and emission lines. I do understand how both types of spectral lines are produced but I am not quite sure where each type is coming from when we observe a ...