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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Astronomy: Are any vanished objects visible to the naked eye?

Are there any objects out there that have since vanished, but because of their distance and the travel time for light, can be seen with the naked eye? Or are those things only visible with ...
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2answers
134 views

Possible intergalactic celestial objects

We know there are rouge stars floating in intergalactic space, thought to be caused by galactic collision. What other other classes of celestial object could be found floating around in intergalactic ...
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1answer
145 views

Can life exist in intergalactic space?

A terrifying idea I think, to be so utterly alone. Do you recon life could exist in intergalactic space? A lot of cosmic radiation is shielded from us by the Milky Way's magnetic field, but the ...
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64 views

How are the distances to the most distant $\gamma$-ray bursts measured?

This question came to my mind when I read on NASA's website that an explosion (gamma ray burst, GRB 080913) took place 12.8 billion light years away from us. How do they measure such large distances?
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66 views

how to measure the age of light?

We measure distances in universe by the units of light year/s or parsec. Which means distance traveled by light in one year equals one light year. Thus the lights we receive from the distant stars or ...
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0answers
37 views

What's the evidence, if any, for some local concentration(s) of dark matter in some region(s) smaller than a galaxy?

What's the evidence, if any, for some local concentration(s) of dark matter in some region(s) smaller than a galaxy? Galactic-sized--or larger--gravitating halos seem to get all the attention. I'm ...
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1answer
40 views

Prior binary star system as possible explanation of high-velocity Type II Supernovae remnants

From wikipedia(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernova) :- "A long-standing puzzle surrounding Type II supernovae is why the compact object remaining after the explosion is given a large velocity away ...
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1answer
368 views

BBC radiation: What is it?

I'm reading articles about blazars, and in a discussion about models concerning Blazar SEDs (Spectral Energy Densities) there are mentions of different processes: Sychrotron scattering, inverse ...
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2answers
844 views

Day/night cycle in Greenland

I have heard that in Greenland there is day for 6 months and night for 6 months. Is this true? If so, how does it happen?
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2answers
215 views

Optically thick media

What does "optically thick media" mean? Does this property depend on the length of an enclosure? Why is the diffusion approximation for the radiative transfer equation applied to optically thick ...
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1answer
88 views

Absorption lines in the context of identifying elements in far away celestial objects

I understand that absorption lines are used to identify elements but how are individual absorption spectrums identified in the light that is received by a telescope?
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25 views

Mathematical calculation of probability of existence of planet similar to earth [duplicate]

Having a layman level of logic about probability ( read about it 10 years ago, so pardon if it's still not right completely) what i know that the calculation requires some knowledge about the number ...
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1answer
97 views

Factors in predictions for Tolman's Surface Brightness Test?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tolman_surface_brightness_test It says: In a simple (static and flat) universe, the light received from an object drops inversely with the square of its distance, but ...
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2answers
139 views

Would it be possible to detect nuclear explosion on exoplanet?

How strong would have to be nuclear explosion on exo-planet that orbits some other star for it to be detectable outside of that system. Or it would be impossible due to amount of radiation coming from ...
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1answer
364 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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3answers
7k views

What are good books for graduates/undergraduates in Astrophysics?

There are no book recommendations for Astrophysics here. I will write my own answer, but I am also interested in what are others' views on the question (I will NOT mark my own answer as the best one). ...
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2answers
133 views

Can a point source be located more accurately out-of-focus or in-focus?

Let's say I am taking a picture, and I know a priori that the image is of a single ideal point source of light at infinity. With a perfect imaging system in focus, the image shows an Airy disk. I ...
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0answers
29 views

Recommendations regarding high-energy astrophysical objects (AGNs, jets, etc.)

I know basic astronomy and I know a few good textbooks for general astrophysics (eg. "Introduction to Astrophysics" by Carroll and Ostlie). I also have a strong background in theoretical physics and ...
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1answer
65 views

Why 21cm line observations is more helpful compared to other radiation?

Why 21cm line observations is more helpful compared to other radiation? Is it only because of its abundance in whole universe or anything else?
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1answer
67 views

How stellar aberration is measured?

A simple calculation shows that stellar aberration due orbital motion of earth is roughly 20 arcseconds. My questions are: Practically how this small value is measured? Does this value is in the ...
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1answer
57 views

Are galaxies “disk” shaped?

When you look a sphere from a fixed observation point, you can easily mistake it for a circle, so I was wondering: are galaxies really "disk" shaped or we just don't have the means to detect the ...
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3answers
189 views

Milky Way Voyeurism

When and where on earth do we get the best view of the Milky Way? I believe it helps if it is night if it is winter to look in the direction of the galaxy center I think that this information ...
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2answers
108 views

Redshift 1+z - CMB Temperature lower?

I know that $\frac{\lambda_2}{\lambda_1} = 1 + z$ Suppose a galaxy had redshfit $z=3$. Does this mean that the wavelength becomes $4\lambda$? Then by wien's law where $\lambda \propto \frac{1}{T}$, ...
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4answers
945 views

Is there a limit to the resolving power of a mirror telescope?

Like, if you hammered out the asteroid 16 Psyche into a 1 mm thick iron foil disc telescope mirror with 2.4x the radius of the Sun, could you resolve details on the surface of an exoplanet? At what ...
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4answers
8k views

Is it possible for the planets to align?

We've all heard the statement that on the 21st of December, the planets in the solar system will "align" from the point of view of the Earth. I assume this means that they would all be in the same ...
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2answers
306 views

Abundances of the light element of the Big Bang Nucleosynthesis

This question is related to the Big Bang Nucleosynthesis of light elements, more concretely I do not understand some features of the graph Why do the $^3$He and D abundances go down with ...
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641 views

What is the frequency of occurrence of stellar classifications off the HR main-sequence?

An alternative version of this question would be: "if was to pick a star from the $10^{11}$ or so in our galaxy at random, what are the probabilities of it being various kinds of star?" (and I do mean ...
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49 views

Any cheap (less than 100 euro) telescope for observing Jupiter? [closed]

The moon is not challenging. I would like to observe the big planets and their rings.
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1answer
381 views

Our universe the surface of a 4-dimensional sphere?

The cosmic microwave background that we observe uniformly around us is usually explained by assuming that our universe is the surface of a four dimensional sphere. That way the uniformity makes sense ...
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1answer
132 views

Why is the earth shaped like a sphere and not any other shape: cube, prism? [duplicate]

Why is the earth shaped like a sphere and not any other shape: cube, prism?
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1answer
47 views

Why is solar eclipse so important for sunlight spectrum analysis?

People wait for decades to catch the chance of a solar eclipse to observe the sun. Why cannot they do it every noon?
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4answers
386 views

How far would you need to displace your eyes to get meaningful depth perception of the stars?

The question follows from xkcd cartoon "Depth Perception (941)". I've isolated the frames that describe the concept here. In words, one could theoretically point two cameras at the sky, and ...
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1answer
21 views

How does intensity differ from apparent luminosity in the context of photometry?

Context: photometry in astronomy. Background: The total luminosity $L$ of a star is the energy that radiates in all spatial directions in all wavelengths and is given by the following formula, where ...
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1answer
117 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 ...
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2answers
5k 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?
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1answer
114 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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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 ...
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2answers
91 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 ...
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1answer
54 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
169 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?
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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?
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2answers
57 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 ...
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0answers
38 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
556 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?
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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 ?
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1answer
67 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 ...
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1answer
714 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 ...
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1answer
159 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 ...
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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 ...