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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Data for binary systems

I am looking for binary systems data that can be used in the context of Kepler's laws. Masses, distances, periods, etc.
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576 views

Size of a photon

When detecting radio waves in space, we use very large telescopes or arrays of telescopes. But according to QM, aren't photons point particles when measured? Does a photon with a large wavelength ...
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255 views

How was this dot identified as a mystery planet originally (Pluto in this case)?

I was watching a documentary on a mission to study Pluto. At 21:11, an image is presented with an arrow mark pointing a small dot which is now identified as Pluto. As there are hundreds of dots on ...
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95 views

Radial and tangential velocities of a star

(source) Early in this piece it states that the radial and tangential velocities are: $$V_r = V_c \cos(\alpha) -V_{c,0} \sin (l)$$ $$V_t = V_c \sin(\alpha) -V_{c,0} \cos (l)$$ but I am struggling ...
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How is the formula derived for finding the field of view given drift time and declination of a star?

How is the formula for field of view derived given the drift time of a star and its declination? $FOV = (drift\ time \cdot \cos(declination)\cdot360 ) / 86164$
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174 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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26 views

Velocity dispersion of galaxies

I couldn't find on web how can I get the velocity dispersion and velocity maps of galaxies from the 3D data cube I get from integral field spectrograph.
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1answer
165 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 ...
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1answer
215 views

Why do galaxies “disappear?”

So, this bit of information confused me lately. Before, I figured galaxies were no longer visible by us because their luminosity decreased in an inverse square manner. However, while watching a movie ...
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51 views

Why can't Wetterich's “Universe without expansion” be tested compared to standard cosmological redshift?

I have read on several sites that this is a theory that cannot be tested. Why is this a theory that can not be tested? It seems to me that if the mass of particles is continually increasing, then the ...
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94 views

Sun's Right Ascension appears to be wrong in my Stellarium

The Stellarium version 0.12.4 I have shows the RA of the sun at 22.5 Hour while Google says it is 19h 4m 31s. I am confused. Please help.
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94 views

How are stellar and galactic ages determined?

Being a 4th year undergraduate physicist, you'd think I'd know this! But it's never really taught in any detail, just vague mentions of metallicities and, in galactic case, redshift. So how exactly ...
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123 views

How did Kepler arrive at his laws?

How did Kepler arrive at his laws? If one already knows the distances to the planets (and the eccentricity of the orbits etc.) it is understandable how one might proceed to establish the second and ...
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156 views

Would a collapsing Universe have the density of water?

I understand that the typical density of the super massive black hole is close that of the water. It is also my understanding that this density is not true matter density because the volume used to ...
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64 views

Gamma ray bursts luminosity measurement

physicists use millisecond fluxes i.e.,fluxes calculated within a very short timescale to measure the actual 1 second flux for these grbs.But to do that they have to multiply the millisecond fluxes ...
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Alma correlator for visible light and for space based telescopes?

I was shocked to see that one can simulate interferometry on a computer like the ALMA Correlator described by this video (posted on Wikipedia's article on ALMA) Is is possible to do the same in ...
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65 views

Is it possible to clearly receive weak signal from space?

Imagine there is communication satellite on geostationary orbite. It transmits signal in a defocused beam, "illuminating" whole Earth hemisphere it's floating over. For example, signal is ...
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1answer
734 views

Radians to Rotate Earth to Match ECI Lat/Lon with ECEF Lat/Lon

I am attempting to model GPS Satellite positions on the globe for a set of ephemerides. I have a verified set of ECI ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth-centered_inertial ) XYZ Coordinates and a ...
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154 views

How fast do large asteroids usually travel?

I have just watched this video made by discovery channel, and you can hear the narrator at 0:51 saying that : "even though it is moving at 720 THOUSANDS kilometers per hour..." I stopped once I heard ...
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241 views

Is it feasible to measure the energy of cosmic ray muons with a consumer Digital Single Lens Reflex camera?

I have read this article SIBBERNSEN, Kendra. Catching Cosmic Rays with a DSLR. Astronomy Education Review, 2010, 9: 010111. and it talks about estimating the muon cosmic ray flux by means of a DSLR ...
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152 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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57 views

Import of Celestial Effects on Satellite Radio Interference

Some internet (among other) infrastructure comprises satellites, which beam communications in radio frequencies. These satellites, to ground observers, appear as very small solid angles in the sky. ...
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82 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 ...
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209 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 ...
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146 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 ...
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35 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?
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364 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 ...
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153 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?
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2k 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, ...
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1answer
150 views

What is the origin and nature of the “hydrogen envelope” located on the sun side of a comet coma?

It is tempting to assume the origin of the hydrogen is water vapor from the comet, in which case, what process "breaks up" the water molecule (or perhaps ammonia molecule?)? Is the hydrogen actually ...
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701 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 ...
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2answers
134 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 ...
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73 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 ...
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1answer
60 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
353 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 ...
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117 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 ...
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90 views

Calculus used by Gauss to find Ceres' position?

With very little data, the great mathematician Gauss was able to predict the exact location of where to find the asteroid Ceres. If possible I would like a reconstruction of his work, from the data ...
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1answer
260 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 ...
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120 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 ...
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1answer
53 views

Relation between red filter band and redshift? [closed]

I am interested in knowing what is the significance of red filter band in the study of redshift dependence of spatial orientation of galaxies?
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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 ...
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1answer
64 views

Is it possible to build an optical system that increases the perceived surface brightness?

So is it possbile to build a system from lenses and mirrors that can make faint gas nebulas brighter or can be used as nightvision? If you increase the size of the aperture of a telescope it will ...
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3answers
489 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 ...
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3answers
2k 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 ...
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2answers
88 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 ...
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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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1answer
468 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 ...
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70 views

To what extent are the astronomically observed black hole candidates compatible with GR black holes?

Do they all fit Schwarzschild black holes? How people compare them with more complicate BH solutions as spinning BH solutions (even if they are not known analytically), say. I'd like more than ...
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681 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 ...