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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6
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1answer
90 views

How far can one look into space while relying on light in the visual spectrum?

Put the other way around. From how far does visible light reach the Earth to be observable by a telescope that operates in this spectrum? Gas clouds for instance absorb light. A star behind such a ...
8
votes
1answer
390 views

Why are telescopes on top of Mauna Kea instead of Mauna Loa?

Many large and important telescopes are located on top of Mauna Kea on Hawaii. This is a great location for many reasons: it's tall enough to be above the weather, an inversion layer at night keeps ...
2
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3answers
211 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 ...
4
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2answers
300 views

How many stars did people think there were in the 11th century (or thereabouts)?

I hope this isn't too off-topic. Someone showed me a reference to a French, 11th century biblical commentator who implied that there were over 600,000 stars. This got me thinking, how many stars did ...
3
votes
1answer
72 views

Primary direction in planet-centered equatorial reference frame

I am given the classical orbital elements of the orbit of a spacecraft around a planet which is not the Earth, say Venus. I assume those are referred to a reference frame whose fundamental plane is ...
1
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0answers
450 views

Map of the gravitational strength of the solar system

I am looking for a map or plot of the gravitational strength in the solar system. In an ideal world there should be something like google earth to move around in the solar system, zoom in and out and ...
8
votes
2answers
252 views

Why is the summer, in the temperate latitudes, in average, hotter that the spring?

It is common knowledge that the transition from the Spring to the Summer season occurs in the Summer Solstice when the "Sun reaches its highest excursion relative to the celestial equator on the ...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

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 ...
6
votes
3answers
195 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
379 views

How does dark matter halo outside a galaxy help to explain galaxy rotation curve?

How does a dark matter halo outside a galaxy help to explain a galaxy rotation curve? Suppose for simplicity we use a model of a star rotating about a more massive star in a fixed circular orbit. For ...
1
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1answer
271 views

How does color of galaxies explain their distance?

Why do distant galaxies have different colors than closer ones?
6
votes
1answer
338 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
157 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
62 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
220 views

How is the sun's equatorial circumference measured?

How is the sun's equatorial circumference measured by scientists?
6
votes
2answers
224 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?
1
vote
0answers
148 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: ...
1
vote
1answer
48 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
191 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
97 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
250 views

How can one get the eccentricity of the orbit of the Sun around center of the Milky Way?

How can one get the eccentricity of the orbit of the Sun around center of the Milky Way? Can it be measured?
1
vote
2answers
139 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
100 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
540 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
527 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 ...
0
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0answers
45 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 ...
-6
votes
1answer
97 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
357 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? ...
1
vote
1answer
136 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 - ...
0
votes
2answers
296 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Do all known planets and moons have magnetic field?

In this Wikipedia article it is stated, that magnetic field of Earth is caused by currents in her core. The same origin is for Jupiter magnetic field. For Moon (article) there is a magnetic field, ...
8
votes
3answers
270 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
767 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 ...
0
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0answers
26 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) ...
1
vote
2answers
497 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
140 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
votes
1answer
357 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
376 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
198 views

What happens to the electron companions of cosmic ray protons?

If primary cosmic rays are made mostly of protons, where are the electrons lost, and does this mean that the Earth is positively charged? Does the sun eject protons and electrons in equal number?
8
votes
3answers
151 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
642 views

Optimal telescope size?

Consider a diffraction-limited telescope with unobstructed aperture $D$. Such a scope is capable of yielding an angular resolution $\alpha$ that scales as $\lambda/D$, with $\lambda$ denoting the ...
11
votes
0answers
302 views

Strange things about new moon [duplicate]

I have some strange and infantile questions about new moon. I want to know how is it possible that the Moon is not visible at night and also at day it is not Sun eclipse? I will explain the problem in ...
0
votes
3answers
502 views

Why wasn't the moon visible during the day a few decades ago?

I was born in 1949. When I was young we played outside and watched the clouds and the sky a lot, and I don't remember ever seeing the moon during the day. Is the sun closer to us now so we see it more ...
0
votes
2answers
71 views

Has anyone studied a statistical scaling law for the universe? [closed]

How do named objects in the universe scale? Is there a predictable curve for an ordered list, say {atom, animal, planet, solar system, galaxy, etc}? Can you then use the analysis to predict when the ...
1
vote
0answers
38 views

Information-theoretic limits in observational astronomy

It seems to me that with ever larger and better telescopes and powerful statistical methods, humans are gleaning surprising amounts of information from observations of distant stars. I am especially ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Find temperature of surface (Blackbody Radiation) [closed]

An astronomer is trying to estimate the surface temperature of a star with a radius of $5 \times 10^8\ m$ by modeling it as an ideal blackbody. The astronomer has measured the intensity of ...
3
votes
1answer
76 views

Where can I search for high quality telescope images of Earth's moon?

I am developing a sensor calibration capability that compares a telescope lunar observation to a physics-based radiometric model. I'd like to find some high quality lunar images to test our ...
0
votes
0answers
46 views

What is the observable Earth we can see? [duplicate]

Yes I know we can see the whole earth, but how far can we see left to right waving out the limitations of sight. Because it's impossible to see the whole earth right? because it's spherical? So is ...
2
votes
3answers
192 views

How old is SUN ☉?

How do we know/calculate the exact age of sun ☉ ? ie. 4.57 billion years. What is the way to calculate it?
1
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2answers
153 views

Is there anyone calculate the probability of extrasolar planets?

After reading an recent news "Stargazers capture first picture of a planet with two suns – just like Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine in Star Wars", I am thinking that: can we calculate the ...