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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773 views

What is meant by positive and negative gravity/energy/spactimecurvature?

I have recently come across some cosmological assertions (based on empirical data) about the universe being self contained in the sense that it is entirely capable of coming into existence from a ...
7
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1answer
148 views

“Cloud maps” of a nearby brown dwarf: what do they actually show?

This paper recently made headlines: A global cloud map of the nearest known brown dwarf. I. J. M. Crossfield et al. Nature 505, 654–656 (30 January 2014). In short, they claim they've been able ...
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3answers
57 views

Are our telescopes capable of taking actual images of brown dwarfs?

One nice result from NASA's WISE infrared survey of the sky is the discovery of particularly cool (as in 'not very warm') stars, now called 'Y dwarfs'. This was reported, for example, in NASA's ...
2
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1answer
196 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 ...
3
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1answer
453 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 ...
27
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4answers
6k views

Why is a new moon not the same as a solar eclipse?

Forgive the elementary nature of this question: Because a new moon occurs when the moon is positioned between the earth and sun, doesn't this also mean that somewhere on the Earth, a solar eclipse ...
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0answers
69 views

How to measure distances to stars by means of spectroscopic parallaxes?

How to measure distances to stars by means of spectroscopic parallaxes on practice? What is the accuracy of measuring distances using this method compared with distances based on HIPPARCOS ...
16
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4answers
889 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 ...
0
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1answer
135 views

How long would it take for a galaxy to collapse without dark matter?

I am trying to understand the effects of gravity in the Cosmos without complications of Dark Matter/Dark energy issues. So my question is, assuming that a galaxy (for example, the Milky Way) does not ...
3
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1answer
105 views

absorption and emission lines in Cassiopeia A hydrogen spectrum

we recently took a tour to a radio telescope and recorded some spectra, one of them being Cassiopeia A. Looking at the difference in on-source and off-source spectra, we find sharp absorption and ...
7
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1answer
1k views

What happened to Apollo's Saturn-third-stage rockets?

I read recently the original Apollo 11 press release and it mentions that the Saturn V's third stage (used for Trans-Lunar Injection) was deployed into a solar orbit of some kind: (Source: Press ...
4
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1answer
245 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 ...
3
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1answer
34 views

What compact central objects younger than the crab pulsar have been seen?

We see the crab pulsar, we don't see any compact remnant from Supernova 1987A. I can't find any others, but I believe they exist. Help?
25
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8answers
18k views

Why CAN we see the new moon at night?

I understand that the Moon's phases are determined by its position in orbit relative to the Sun. (See: Full Story on the Moon). The "shadow" is not cast by the Earth (a common misconception - this is ...
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
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1answer
3k views

What's the difference between a red giant and a red supergiant?

I've seen both theoretical and observational definitions of stars. For example, an AGB star is a star where two sets of nuclear reactions (helium to carbon and hydrogen to helium) are taking place in ...
2
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2answers
265 views

The validity of the Longitude of Perihelion

As I understand it from Astronomical Algorithms, by Jean Meeus, the Longitude of Perihelion is a very common numeric value associated with planets, even used as one of the planetary orbital elements. ...
2
votes
1answer
109 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?
17
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4answers
1k views

Does the Moon's core still contain significant heat?

On earth, using earth-sheltering techniques can significantly reduce the temperature fluctuations on a structure. Would the same statement be true as well on the Moon? Does the Moon's core still ...
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, ...
12
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5answers
4k views

Does Earth have a code name?

Everything we discover in the sky get eventually a code name, like NGC 7293, Simeis 147, etc. Does Earth/Moon have a code name too? Or it is just Earth/Moon, etc.?
6
votes
1answer
388 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
votes
2answers
104 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

How much sky do we see at any one moment?

When we look at any particular point the sky, what percentage of the celestial sphere do we see? This question arises from the notion that on average there passes one meteor per hour overhead. So ...
7
votes
1answer
66 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
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 ...
3
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1answer
55 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
237 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
636 views

Calculating the illumination of the moon

I am trying to find a formula that will enable me to calculate the illumination of the moon down to one thousandth of a percent, given that the Gregorian year, month, day, and hour is known. Can ...
8
votes
1answer
91 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 ...
2
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3answers
243 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
427 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
1k 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
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2answers
84 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
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1answer
200 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 ...
11
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3answers
1k views

Is it possible to see satellites with the naked eye?

Every now and then I notice some very bright "stars" in the sky. They tend to be very few (one or two, usually), and are quite much brighter than any other star out there. Often they're perfectly ...
15
votes
2answers
442 views

Why don't any of the gas giants have moons of Earth's mass (or greater) that orbit them? Is this generalizable to exoplanet gas giants?

Now, we know that the composition of the outer planets tend to contain a much higher ratio of ice over rock. [1] So the lack of Earth-like moons around the outer planets that this could be an artifact ...
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0answers
163 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 ...
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5answers
1k views

Recommended first accessories for starblast 4.5

My son got an orion starblast 4.5 for Christmas. It comes with orion explorer II 17mm and 6mm eyepieces. We are looking at some additional accessories and wondering what you would recommend as "first ...
0
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2answers
461 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
268 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 ...
19
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3answers
10k views

How long does it take to travel 36 light years with tolerable acceleration and deceleration?

The recent discovery of HD85512b only 36 light years from Earth has promising attributes to harbor life. Assuming we want to travel there, we cannot instantaneously jump to light speed, (StarTrek ...
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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
90 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
7k views

How does the moon reflect light?

We can see the moon in the night because it reflects sunlight. But the light is incident on the opposite side of moon with respect to the observer in the night. In this case, how does the moon ...
8
votes
1answer
389 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 ...
10
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5answers
935 views

How is it possible for astronomers to see something 13B light years away?

In a NPR News story from a few years back: "A gamma-ray burst from about 13 billion light years away has become the most distant object in the known universe." I'm a layman when it comes ...
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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 ...
3
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1answer
659 views

At what temperature does water become a liquid on Mars? On the asteroids? And in a vacuum?

I know that I can just read off the phase diagram for water (for the surface atmospheric pressure on each object). But could there possibly be some nuances that someone might miss just from viewing ...