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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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?
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1answer
123 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.
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2answers
108 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 ...
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1answer
326 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 ...
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3answers
223 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, ...
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2answers
573 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 ...
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0answers
105 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 ...
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1answer
125 views

How would a very nearby supernova shockwave and remnants affect the earth?

I've been reading about supernovae for a while, and I noticed how incredibly fast their shockwave and remnants travel shortly after the explosion. So I thought about how this would affect the earth if ...
4
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1answer
133 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
758 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 ...
5
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2answers
254 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?
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2answers
157 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, ...
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1answer
125 views

Tycho's stellar parallax measurements

How, exactly, did Tycho Brahe do his measurements of (no) stellar parallax? All the descriptions of parallax that I have been able to find seem to talk about the change in position of a nearby star ...
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1answer
183 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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?
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1answer
95 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?
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1answer
69 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 ...
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2answers
130 views

Is there a fundamental limit to the temporal resolution of signals from space?

In Earth-based experiments, we can measure phenomenon very rapidly in an experiment given appropriate equipment. Clearly if something takes a long exposure to see (due to a weak signal), then the ...
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1answer
135 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?
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1answer
276 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 ...
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2answers
129 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 ...
1
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1answer
247 views

Calculate exact time of Solar midnight

I want to calculate real time of midnight (Solar midnight), but I am unable to find any formula or algorithm for that. I have times of sunrises and sunsets for every day of year. How can I get Solar ...
4
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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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1answer
220 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.
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1answer
278 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 ...
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3answers
258 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, ...
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0answers
165 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
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2answers
100 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. ...
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4answers
2k 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 ...
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1answer
78 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 ...
16
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4answers
841 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 ...
3
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1answer
343 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 ...
4
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1answer
189 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 ...
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0answers
50 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 ...
5
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2answers
173 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 ...
3
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1answer
416 views

Ephemeris calculations: Light time correction of the moon

I am currently trying to calculate apparent positions from raw JPL data. I've got it pretty much figured out, but there is one thing that's bugging me: Has the light time correction of the moon to be ...
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2answers
103 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.
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0answers
75 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 ...
10
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2answers
323 views

Does the Milky Way have dark matter satellite galaxies?

This recent paper by Weinberg et al. discusses that one potential problem with our current model of Cold Dark Matter (CDM) is that is predicts a greater number of satellite galaxies for the Milky Way ...
17
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1answer
515 views

How fast is the Earth-Sun distance changing

This is inspired by Evidence that the Solar System is expanding like the Universe?, which referenced an article by G. A. Krasinsky and V. A. Brumberg, "Secular Increase of Astronomical Unit from ...
6
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1answer
87 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 ...
8
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1answer
389 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 ...
2
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3answers
210 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 ...
4
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2answers
289 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 ...
3
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1answer
70 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 ...
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0answers
429 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
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2answers
244 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 ...
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1answer
65 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 ...
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3answers
192 views

Can gamma rays be used to investigate heavenly bodies?

This is a very layman level question. I watch a lot of documentaries, that's my only qualification. I have seen in documentaries that gamma rays have an extraordinary penetrating power. So if we could ...