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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3
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1answer
108 views

Absorption line detected with a significance of $2.2\sigma$

What do we mean by the following statement? The SV $\lambda$ 786.46 line is detected with a equivalent width of $W = 22.7\pm10.2$ corresponding to a significance of $2.2\sigma$ How does one ...
15
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2answers
4k views

Dumbed-down explanation how scientists know the number of atoms in the universe?

It is often quoted that the number of atoms in the universe is 10$^{70}$ or 10$^{80}$. How do scientists determine this number? And how accurate is it (how strong is the supporting evidences for ...
6
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2answers
4k views

How could scientists know how far a star or galaxy is from us?

How do astronomers measure how far a star (or galaxy) is away from the earth? How would they know that it has taken 13 million years for light to travel in space before it reaches us?
2
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1answer
108 views

Calculate the maximum variation in brightness of a star due to the presence of a planet in orbit

Background: As a planet orbits around a star, the star's brightness periodically dims as shown in the following picture. By measuring the variation of brightness, we are able to deduce information ...
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0answers
26 views

Question about Hubble's Law - expansion vs receding velocity [duplicate]

The distance to the galaxy NGC3198 is found to be $15.9 MPc$ and recession velocity is $680km s^{-1}$. What value of Hubble Constant is implied? If $H_0$ is in fact $72 km s^{-1} Mpc^{-1}$, what ...
0
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2answers
90 views

The reason(s) of seasons on earth

This maybe simple and usual question, although there is a lot of confusion about it over internet and even in some books, so I want from an astronomer / astrophysicist to fill the gaps for me ...
2
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1answer
53 views

Current map of galaxies' z's and distances?

So, here's a diagram with some galaxies. I realize there are 500 billion galaxies out there (likely many more), but is there are fairly up-to-date diagram of all the galaxies, or a representative ...
0
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2answers
95 views

Quick question on astronomical units

I'm trying to solve for $\frac{M*}{M_0}$ and $p''$ using these two equations: Here is the lecturer's working, I worked it out several times and I got a different answer! Surely when you use ...
2
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1answer
161 views

How to practically find the RA-DEC coordinates of a star?

How are RA-DEC (Right Ascension & Declination) coordinates of a star measured i.e. if scientist spot a new star in the sky how do they accurately measure it's coordinates?
4
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2answers
81 views

What is the error in the measured value of the Hubble Constant?

I've found on the internet that the Hubble constant has been measured to be about $2.3\times 10^{-18} \, \mathrm{s}^{-1}$ Does anyone know what the current error bounds are on this value?
0
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2answers
55 views

Size of objects and variations in brightness?

My textbook says talking about Cygnus X-1 (the first black hole to be identified as such) has variations in brightens of the order of 0.01 seconds and that this means that it's dimeter must be on the ...
2
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0answers
37 views

Milky way rotation data

Can anyone tell me where I can download sample rotation curve data for the Milky Way in csv format?
5
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2answers
537 views

Are there any astronomical objects at night that are dangerous to look at (through a telescope)?

Are there any astronomical bodies that would be dangerous to my vision to view through a telescope? Obviously the sun is dangerous, but are there other bodies at night I should avoid?
2
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1answer
83 views

Approaching of Milky way to M87

The Andromeda Galaxy is approaching the Milky Way at about 110 kilometres per second (68 mi/s). What is the velocity that Milky way is approaching M87 ?
0
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1answer
65 views

Quick question on parallax and parsec

I know that 1 parsec (pc) is the distance of star at which 1 AU subtends 1 arcsecond. so $1 pc = \frac{1 AU}{1"}$ Now, if two stars in a binary with a separation of 3" and have a trigonometric ...
2
votes
1answer
668 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
157 views

Hubble time and its derivation? [duplicate]

I know the derivation of Hubble time goes something like this (I am an a-level student so this may not be the actual derivation): Two galaxy that is moving away from each other at speed v are now D ...
0
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2answers
31 views

Are combined masses in space, such as galaxies, considered to be uniform bodies? *In addition, a related question about force

If we were to calculate the force that one galaxy exerted onto another, would we consider the individual masses within the galaxies, or the masses of the galaxies as a whole? Do the individual stars ...
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0answers
56 views

Why are other universes in the picture of Dark Flow?

It seems to me that the popular suggestive explanation of dark flow is another universe interacting with ours. Isn't there other alternative explanations?
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2answers
118 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 ...
4
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3answers
241 views

How many stars within 5 parsecs?

I've ran some scripts on some star catalogs, which counted the number of stars with a parallax greater than 200 mas, which should mean everything closer than 5 pc. The results are as follows: ...
4
votes
1answer
269 views

Future space-based telescope array

Radio-telescopes (e.g. the Very Large Array (VLA)) can simulate one gigantic dish by using separate smaller dishes. Q: Could such an array of optical telescopes potentially see an exoplanet at say 20 ...
2
votes
3answers
139 views

Astronomical Constant in Astronomical units?

I'm doing a computer simulation of the solar system and I'm having trouble working with big numbers (implementation specific problem). So what would be the Newtonian gravitational constant $G$ in ...
8
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1answer
76 views

Why are no CMB experiments able to measure the whole range of multipole moments?

Have a look at the following diagram: This shows measurements of the CMB by various experiments, with multipole moment $l$ on the x-axis and the temperature of the corresponding moment on the ...
5
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3answers
283 views

How/why can the cosmic background radiation measurements tell us anything about the curvature of the universe?

So I've read the Wikipedia articles on WMAP and CMB in an attempt to try to understand how scientists are able to deduce the curvature of the universe from the measurements of the CMB. The Wiki ...
0
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1answer
74 views

How can we know that a black hole exists? [duplicate]

How can we know that a black hole exists if it attracts both matter and light, and to prove that it exists would need to observe it? It's a very common question but I don't know the answer.
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2answers
644 views

Why don't we see solar and lunar eclipses often?

Since we see the new moon at least once in a month when the Moon gets in between of the Sun and the Earth during the evening ( and as far as I know if this happens during the day, you'll get to see a ...
4
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2answers
1k 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 ...
0
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1answer
37 views

Could compression of electromagnetic waves cause red shift

One argument against "tired" light as a possible cause of red shift is that supernovae judged to be closer to us, based on luminescence, appear to be moving away from us faster than distant supernovae ...
2
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3answers
96 views

Is it possible to extract energy from mass rotating in space?

Consider a single isolated rotating mass (for example planet), is it possible to extract energy out of its rotation? If yes, how could that theoretically be achieved?
8
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2answers
743 views

Is there any evidence for the claim that the moon was once part of the Earth?

There is a hypothesis that says a part of the Earth was split away and became the Moon. Is there any scientific evidence for this claim?
2
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3answers
6k views

How to ‘correct’ reflected image on my telescope?

When viewed using my reflector telescope, the image, for example the moon, is flipped over and upside down (reflected). Therefore I need to do the ‘opposite’ movements when I want to align something. ...
4
votes
1answer
127 views

Correlation between large-scale galaxy structure and CMB fluctuations?

During a relatively non-technical astronomy seminar the other day, the speaker displayed the famous WMAP full-sky image as an aid to describing what the CMB is, the scale of its fluctuations, etc. ...
1
vote
1answer
151 views

Is there a simple formula for calculating semimajor axis bounds of “habitable zone”?

I understand that an accurate determination of the bounds of the "habitable zone" for a given stellar system depends on a large number of factors, including many beyond characteristics of the parent ...
2
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0answers
171 views

What is the shape of the Sun's orbit around the Milky Way? [closed]

Here is a question for you really bright folks. How does the motion of the sun along the midpoint of the plane of the galaxy look like? I suspect it to travel above and then below the plane but I ...
4
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6answers
7k views

Why is the solar noon time different every day?

If you check the local time for solar noon is different every day. Why is it so? Is it because Earth doesn't make a complete rotation in exactly 24 hours?
2
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0answers
42 views

Precession period matching solar year

Consider the case of a tidally locked planet: its axis of rotation must be perpendicular to the plane of its revolution around the parent star. Therefore, no precession. It is possible for a planets ...
3
votes
1answer
198 views

Where can I find the list of the planetary motion equations?

The planetary motion equations are written in the ellipse equation format, i.e. $x^2/a + y^2/b = 1$. Can anyone please tell me where I can find the list of all the planetary motion equations, ...
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2answers
146 views

Do Pulsar Stars produce sound?

Can I hear electromagnetic radiation coming from a pulsar star? Or can I hear it if I stand outside it?
1
vote
1answer
40 views

Planetary Systems

How does one know the correct position of planets in relation to the sun when viewing the solar system from different angles makes the appearance of the planets different? I would think that it would ...
0
votes
1answer
125 views

Is sun revolving around certain mass in space with reference to some other galaxy?

Every planet and satellite revolves around their mother planet and about their own axis as we know. So they are compacted as a system. Then why not sun?
3
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2answers
210 views

Does the Sun produce audible sound?

Theoretically if I were able to build some sort of device that let me sit 1 foot away from the surface of the Sun (or any star for that matter) without being vaporized, would a star produce any sort ...
1
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3answers
1k views

EM waves: How do they travel for billions of km without damping

If a star is 1 billion light years away, it means that the light we see from the star is emmitted billions of years ago. How does this light not undergo a frequency change or get damped inspite of ...
4
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0answers
61 views

How do we decode the image formed by a gravitational lens?

Using our own sun as a gravitational lens, we can scrutinise planetary surfaces in distant solar systems with a good deal of accuracy: ...
2
votes
1answer
53 views

Does the rate of expansion of the universe exceed the rate at which the local group is being pulled toward the Great Attractor?

I understand that the expansion rate of the universe driven dark energy exceeds the rate at which the local group is being pulled toward The Great Attractor (Hydra-Centaurus Supercluster). Does this ...
8
votes
2answers
403 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. ...
18
votes
4answers
376 views

How accurate are Mayan astronomical “ephemerides”?

Because of the hype surrounding the "end" of the Mayan calendar (along with the usual cultural relativism and Western guilt) it is nearly impossible to find an objective quantitative assessment of the ...
1
vote
1answer
374 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 ...
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 ...
19
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1answer
924 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 ...