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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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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180 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 ...
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5answers
348 views

sun-moon-earth anomaly

When one looks at the sun and the moon in the sky together, why is it that the illuminated crescent of the moon does NOT "point" at the sun? (More correctly the perpendicular bisector of the straight ...
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3answers
632 views

Why does the light side of the moon appear not to line up correctly with the evening sun?

I live at roughly 52.4,-2.1. On a sunny evenings I've often looked at the moon and the sun and noticed that the light part of the moon does not appear to line up with the sun. For example, at about ...
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1answer
187 views

How does color of galaxies explain their distance?

Why do distant galaxies have different colors than closer ones?
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2answers
208 views

How is the sun's equatorial circumference measured?

How is the sun's equatorial circumference measured by scientists?
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1answer
168 views

What is 656 Beagle?

What kind of object is 656 Beagle (1908BU)? I know it's a minor planet, but that includes a large array of different stuff. Specifically, I am looking at the general chemistry/geology of the object.
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274 views

How big of a telescope to view Gliese 581g in great detail?

I've always been interested in mega sized telescopes and how big they would have to be to see exoplanets in great detail. So, Gliese 581g is 22 light years away. Could we build a telescope in space ...
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2answers
138 views

Can the axis of rotation of a celestial body point in any arbitrary direction?

I am developing a small computer program that involves moderately simple simulation of elliptical Kepler orbits for fictional, generated star systems. I'm doing this without much prior knowledge of ...
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0answers
56 views

How to predict Iridium Flare?

I want to find out how to predict Iridium flares, but I don't know where to start. If I know Solar position, Iridium satelites' TLE and it's shape, I need a magnitude(time) function for some place on ...
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2answers
440 views

What accounts for the discrepancies in my calculations of year lengths?

A common exercise in many introductory astronomy texts is to use the lengths of various kinds days to calculate the approximate length of the corresponding year. For example, ratio $k$ of the length ...
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2answers
212 views

How to cut a stone on on a White Dwarf

I've heard that white dwarfs are extremely dense and hard. So, if I had a piece of white dwarf matter, would it be possible to cut it (or otherwise) into a custom shape? How could one do that?
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309 views

Aligning images of starfields

I have two images taken within 30 minutes of each other in the same part of the sky. They are very similar but are slightly offset due to the Earth's rotation and other factors. I know: the X, Y ...
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6answers
4k views

How fast is Earth moving through the universe?

As the galaxy is moving and the solar system orbiting the galaxy and the Earth orbiting the sun. So how fast is each object moving and what is the fastest we move at? Do we even know how fast the ...
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46 views

Dimensions of a variable celestial body?

I read (extern link to a filehoster, page 163 section 4.8) that a variable celestial object like a pulsar or quasar must be smaller than the distance the light travels in its variation period. Can ...
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0answers
132 views

How do I obtain the Point Spread Function (PSF) of a ground telescope?

I have some galaxy kinematic maps (velocity maps) extracted from Integral Field Spectroscopy (IFS) datacubes. Like any observation data coming from a ground telescope, these velocity maps include (ie: ...
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1answer
88 views

Galaxy Kinematic Fitting: How to deal with Point Spread Function (PSF)

The past few months I have been studying astronomy and Integral Field Spectroscopy (IFS). What I want to do is to fit a galaxy kinematic model to data (ie: estimate the model parameters that give the ...
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1answer
92 views

Astronomical-wavelength radio (AWR) transmissions between cosmic plasmas?

My son asked me if electromagnetic waves longer than radio exist. I told him that even though physics permits such waves, there are no antennas long enough to radiate or detect them. However, on ...
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1answer
152 views

Calculating the length of day at any time of the year? [duplicate]

Is it possible to calculate the length of the day at various location (distances) from the sun? I hear agricultural scientists are able to do that. To make calculations easier assume there is no axis ...
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2answers
397 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 Moon at the night and as far as I know if this happens during the day, you'll get to see a solar ...
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3answers
43 views

Identifying objects, for dummies

If I'm a tyro and have a latitude, longitude, time, date, height from the horizon, and compass direction, what means can I use for identifying what I see there? Realize that, as a tyro, I don't have ...
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1answer
479 views

Is there a simple yet accurate formula for where on Earth the Sun and Moon are directly overhead?

I'm trying to improve a site that shows the region of the Earth currently under daylight, and I need a formula that, given the current time, tells where (latitude/longitude) the sun and moon are ...
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1answer
419 views

Distribution of star colours in a galaxy

I'm trying to randomly generate a representation of a galaxy. I have some Idea on the spatial distribution of stars within a galaxy, and I can find plenty of material on the colour of stars, but ...
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2answers
215 views

Why don't stars in globular clusters all orbit in the same plane?

Globular clusters like Omega Centauri certainly don't seem to be very coplanar at all. In other words, why doesn't the explanation at Why are our planets in the solar system all on the same ...
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3answers
94 views

Photographs of galaxies many light years far from the Earth

Using ground-based telescopes or the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers take photographs of galaxies which are many light years from the Earth. Does it mean those photographs are as old as the ...
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2answers
126 views

starlight flux on earth

I want to calculate if it is possible to photograph a subject lit only by starlight. I found one website claiming that a starlit scene is lv = -15 (daylight is lv 15, or 2^31 times brighter), but he ...
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2answers
442 views

Recent Planck probe results: how unexpected?

The data from the Planck probe's observations are in, and according to the European Space Agency they show a "hemispheric asymmetry in the cosmic microwave background (CMB)". Quote: an asymmetry ...
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1answer
83 views

Could a bipolar nebula be produced by a time gradient?

M2-9 is an example of a bipolar nebula that resembles two back-to-back rocket nozzles. Is it possible that this shape (somewhat unusual for an explosion) is the result of a time gradient? A rotating ...
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1answer
260 views

Why are solar eclipses more common in the southern hemisphere?

I've seen the claim that solar eclipses are more common in the southern hemisphere than the northern hemisphere and would like to understand why and if that is the case? Does it relate more to the ...
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42 views

Estimating the present state of stars [duplicate]

Many time while reading through astronomy articles on the stars most of then thousand of light years away from earth. I have wondered how do astronomer know about the present state of star if we are ...
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4answers
2k views

View of the Sun from Voyager 1

Today Voyager 1 is approximately 122 AU distance from the Sun. What does the sun look like from this distance? How much brighter does the sun appear to the naked eye compared to other stars in the ...
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1answer
86 views

What would happen if the moon was in perpetual opposition of the sun [closed]

What would happen if an artificial force made the moon to stay at a perpetual opposition from the sun? Assume that the artificial force necessary is possible, and capable of making the moon stay at ...
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1answer
276 views

How do you calculate the Milky Way’s galactic year? [closed]

The Solar system moves at a speed of 220 km / s around the galaxy. It’s about 27,000 light years from the Galactic Centre. How long does it take for the solar system to orbit around the Milky Way? ...
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1answer
130 views

How far to the 'edge' of the galaxy?

Wikipedia lists the average thickness of the milky-way to be about 1,000 LY - but where (roughly) within that is the sun currently? In asking this, I'm fully aware that there's no well-defined edge - ...
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2answers
245 views

Planet in which satellite(moon) and star(sun) appear together once a year

With a hypothetical system, where the moon would be always on the opposite side of the planet than the sun, in a way that the moon would only be visible at night on the planet. I don't know if this ...
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2answers
69 views

What information about a meteor's trajectory, size, or height can be derived from a single location?

If one sees a meteor, is there any way to get even a rough approximation of its height, entry angle, size, or other characteristic without triangulation from another position? If it appeared as a ...
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2answers
283 views

Curiosity Rover (MSL): current coordinates

I'm looking for information on the current coordinates of Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity Rover. I've only found the landing site coordinates 4.5895°S ...
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3answers
235 views

Parallax, obliquity, precession, and Orion?

Today, the obliquity of the earth is about 23.4°. 6500 years ago, it was about 24.1° Imagine the blue square is the constellation of Orion, and the yellow star is the sun. Viewpoint B is you, on ...
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288 views

Why is my approach to the equation of time off by a constant?

I'm trying to better understand the causes for the equation of time by deriving an approximation from first principles. My naive approach, $EOT_{NAIVE}$, is to take the difference between the right ...
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2answers
620 views

When is the right ascension of the mean sun 0?

I understand that the right ascension of the mean sun changes (at least over a specified period) by a constant rate, but where is it zero? I had naively assumed that it would be zero at the most ...
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5answers
1k views

Anti-Matter Black Holes

Assuming for a second that there were a pocket of anti matter somewhere sufficiently large to form all the type of object we can see forming from normal matter - then one of these objects would be a ...
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3answers
454 views

Distance away from earth to see it as a full disk [duplicate]

This question is more space-related than physics-related, but here goes... How far away the earth would I have to be in order to see the earth as a full disk? What I'm looking for is a distance in ...
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0answers
25 views

What's an equation for two astronomical entities both of 4000 tonnes in weight, colliding? [duplicate]

I have next to no knowledge of any physics, but would be happy if you could answer my question... I want to know an equation for two astronomical entities such as the star Sirius (2.02 solar mass) ...
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4answers
1k views

What is the typical career path to become a professional Astronomer? [closed]

Here is a typical question which I have been asked many times while giving public lectures in various places. While I know one of the paths like Diploma, Masters and PhD but sometimes this is not so ...
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2answers
125 views

Is it possible that universe might not be speeding up expansion?

I'm not sure but I was thinking of galaxies shrinking with time while still moving apart from each other at almost a constant speed or less (i.e: uniform/slightly decelerating expansion). This may ...
5
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1answer
274 views

What planets are visible to the naked eye from Mars?

Here on Earth we are blessed with being able to see some other planets, Mars & Venus etc, with the naked eye on a fairly regular basis thanks to the distance between the planets. What about from ...
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6answers
2k views

What methods can astronomers use to find a black hole?

How can astronomers say, we know there are black holes at the centre of each galaxy? What methods of indirect detection are there to know where and how big a black hole is?
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1answer
116 views

Polaris distance correction and implications for cosmological measurements

Polaris has been a guiding light of navigation for centuries. But Polaris also happens to be the closest cepheid variable to our sun. These, together with the type II-A supernovae constitute standard ...
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3answers
139 views

How do we measure the range of distant objects despite relativistic effects?

When we observe astronomical objects like distant galaxies there are several complicating factors for estimating the distance: Relativistic speed result in length contraction Relativistic speed ...
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2answers
7k views

How is distance between sun and earth calculated?

How has the distance between sun and earth been calculated by scientists? and size of sun? Thanks,