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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Is there such a thing as “North” in outerspace?

On Earth, North is determined by the magnetic poles of our planet. Is there such a thing as "North" in outerspace? To put it another way, is there any other way for astronauts to navigate besides ...
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2answers
129 views

What parameters control the amount of thermal energy an object must possess for it to be detectable in space?

What parameters control the amount of thermal energy a space object must possess for it to be detectable by a sensor also in space (i.e. one that does not have to deal with interference from a ...
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0answers
23 views

What formula gives the solunar periods of the Solunar Theory? [on hold]

Challenge Find a general formula that: Given latitude,longitude and date finds (at most) two major solunar periods for that day. Given A table of daily solunar periods for a given month at a given ...
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1answer
233 views

How to tell if a star is in a galaxy?

An astronomer is studying a star that appears to be in a galaxy. How does the astronomer know the star is actually in the galaxy and not just on the same line of sight as the galaxy? I'm guessing ...
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0answers
30 views

What prevents Digital interferometry in an optical telescope array?

I understand it is common to combine an array of radio telescopes in to a single instrument using interferometry. This has the photon collecting area of the combined radio telescopes but an aperture ...
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3answers
52 views

What is meant by a “sodium line”?

What speed should a galaxy move with respect to us so that the sodium line at $589.0\ \mathrm{nm}$ is observed at $589.6\ \mathrm{nm}$? In the above question what's meant by a sodium line? The ...
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0answers
11 views

For a Plummer model mass distribution, what is the timescale of dissolution?

Given an initial system of masses distributed in a Plummer model close encounters cause stars to gain enough energy to leave the system. What is the timescale over which the whole cluster with N ...
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2answers
118 views

In a random direction, am I more likely to find a dwarf or giant galaxy?

First a couple of disclaimers: My title explains the idea of my question, but I will pose it slightly differently to make it less subjective. This ends up being in the style of a homework exercise ...
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1answer
74 views

Difference between Gunn Peterson trough and the Lyman Alpha Forest? Cosmological implications?

I'm having difficulty understanding the full implications of the Lyman alpha forest and its use in cosmology. My understanding is this: we detect features in the Intergalactic Medium (IGM) by very ...
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2answers
90 views
+50

Are some sources of electromagnetic radiation theoretically (or perhaps technically!) more challenging to detect than others?

In a previous question, I learned that in order to detect an object in space, what matters is how much electromagnetic radiation it is giving off, and what sources of EM radiation the sensor can pick ...
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0answers
13 views

from right ascension and declination to angle from semi-major axis

I am working on a research project and having trouble converting from ascension and declination to angles with respect to the semi-major axis. The target coordinate system has its origin at the ...
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1answer
38 views

Experimental Data for Mass Distribution of a Galaxy

My goal here is not to discuss dark matter in general. I know there are many other observational clues that hint us towards Dark matter. My goal is simply to understand this argument here a little ...
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0answers
42 views

2D Sérsic equation [closed]

The 1D Sérsic equation for disk galaxies is $I(r) = I_0 \exp[{-(r/h)^{1/n}}]$ I'm testing some profile extraction and fitting routines on 2D models and I just can't get my head around transforming it ...
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1answer
207 views

In the calculation of sunrise, where do the magic numbers come from?

In this question about how to calculate sunrise, there is a link to a page that describes a algorithm to calculate sunrise sunset. But when I start to follow the instructions I find that there is a ...
4
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1answer
110 views

What made Kepler think that orbits are not circular which came to be elliptical?

Kepler formulated his laws in a sort of time where human began to believe in heliocentric universe and telescope was not yet invented/ discovered. So what made Kepler think that orbits aren't ...
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0answers
33 views

Supposed navigation from Sagittarius to Earth [closed]

Presume you are on a planet in the Sagittarius and want to set course for Earth. What would the coordinates be? I have looked all over the internet without any luck so I hope for the best.
4
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1answer
45 views

No tremendous neutrino-flux for SNIa?

Why do neutrino account for 99% of the energy release for a SN II, while it is not expected to be the case for SN Ia? Is it because the densities are not high enough to induce inverse beta-decay? ...
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1answer
48 views

What is the direction of our solar system in the Milky way galaxy and in the universe?

What is the direction of our solar system in the Milky way galaxy and in the whole universe? Are we heading toward another constellation, not including Andromeda?
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0answers
16 views

CMB parameter, what's the meaning of the matter power spectrum normalization sigma_8?

Most CMB experiments like WMAP and Planck include a certain cosmological parameter called $\sigma_8$. My understanding is that normalization of the matter power spectrum is not a theoretical ...
2
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1answer
419 views

Light coming from distant galaxies

Some of the distant galaxies appear to be receding from us faster than the speed of light due to stretch of the space between us and those galaxies. By an analogy with the ant on a rope paradox, the ...
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1answer
896 views

How is the Plane of the Solar System oriented to the Sun's motion through space?

How is the Plane of the Solar System oriented to the Sun's motion through space: parallel, perpendicular, or some other angle?
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1answer
64 views

What are the coordinates of the center of rotation of our galaxy, relative to ourselves?

So standing outside in the garden, can we physically point to the center of rotation of the galaxy? I understand that from our viewpoint on Earth, it would be a moving point, so allowing for Earth ...
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1answer
53 views

Does all the theoretical work of astrophysicists have to be confirmed by the observations of astronomers?

I am a chemist an I have some doubts about the work of astrophysicists. I know that astrophysicists do a lot of theoretical calculations based in other theoretical work and also based in real ...
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3answers
986 views

Detectability of interstellar messages

Recently a debate started whether it is a good idea to send more messages into space in the hope of having alien civilizations receive them. There are some predecessors, most notably the 1974 Arecibo ...
4
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1answer
56 views

Desynchronised pixels in images of the Sun?

NASA published this wonderfull video of Sun from SDO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSVv40M2aks And it occurred interesting question: Sun is very big sphere. Its so big that it took light 4,6 ...
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3answers
130 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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1answer
80 views

What is the distance to the closest star similar to our Sun? [closed]

My question was inspired by this nice question. But, I recall the phenomenon of strange objects appearing on our sky, and then moving away with a velocity that seems not yet attainable by manmade ...
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2answers
84 views

Harvesting hydrogen from a star

I've been thinking about what highly technologically advanced civilisations would do once their energy requirements become comparable to the total output of a star, and how such activity could be ...
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1answer
55 views

The ever increasing pull of a black hole

If something is caught in the pull of a black hole and keeps accelerating it can't keep accelerating with no limits or else it would accelerate beyond c. So is there a limit on how fast acceleration ...
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2answers
111 views

Is there a confirmation of dark matter signal?

Dark matter, as we know does not emit light, so confirmation of its presence is indirect. Are there any recent indirect confirmations of dark matter. A place one would look for in detecting dark ...
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1answer
19 views

In astronomy, what is a 'reflex orbit'?

In astronomy, what is a reflex orbit? The term is used in one of my books, but u don't find a definition for it. Googling it gives me articles about 'Oculocardiac reflex' which is not what I want. ...
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0answers
21 views

Luminosity, brightness and magnitdes in cosmology

I just started learning Cosmology and am confused with these terms. What I know so far: Luminosity $(L)$ is the energy output (inc. visible light, radiation etc.) per unit time of a star. It is an ...
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0answers
21 views

Can a gas be modelled as a low density blackbody, if we want to consider how detectable it will be in space?

The answer to this question taught me about the sort of parameters I need to consider if I want to consider how "detectable" an object in space is. I want to consider the detectability of a ...
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2answers
74 views

Of the 9096 visible stars — 90% are how close?

I was on a beach on a tropical island one night and, of course, the night sky was magnificent. It got me thinking: I want to point to a star and say with $90$% certainty that it is probably $x$ ...
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3answers
101 views

How big would a solar sail need to be to be detected from the orbit of Pluto?

Suppose we made a solar sail out of a highly reflective material. How big would that solar sail have to be for the Hubble Space Telescope to detect it visually at the average distance of Pluto?
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0answers
24 views

Will any massless particle/object in the vacuum of space always travel at the speed of light? [duplicate]

The question as stated above, is "Will any massless particle/object in the vacuum of space always travel at the speed of light?"
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4answers
7k 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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1answer
60 views

Did light already experience death of the universe immediately after the Big Bang?

Let's suppose that I am on Point A with a light-beam launcher. My goal is to launch a beam of light to Point B, which is about 8,000 quadrillion light years away. My friend named Jack is at Point B ...
9
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2answers
115 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 ...
6
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2answers
194 views

Which BICEP2 r value should be compared to Planck's r<0.11?

The BICEP2 paper reports a tensor/scalar ratio $r = 0.20_{-0.05}^{+0.07}$, but then says: Subtracting the various dust models and re-deriving the r constraint still results in high significance of ...
2
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4answers
747 views

How to locate the Orion Nebula?

I was trying to see Orion Nebula for few days now and I simply can't spot it. I'm using Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ ( 5" , Newtonian , 1000m ). I'm pretty sure I have the right spot as I saw many ...
4
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1answer
55 views

Classification of small extra-solar system bodies

A Small Solar System Body (SSSB) is an object in the Solar System that is neither a planet, nor a dwarf planet, nor a satellite. This encompasses all comets and all minor planets, as well as all ...
2
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4answers
118 views

Drake's equation

Some years ago i read about this equation that helps us estimate the number of active, communicative extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy. Now, i am wondering if there are results ...
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1answer
24 views

Synthesising types of galaxies using various stellar spectra

I have been given the task of synthesising an elliptical galaxy, a starburst galaxy and a spiral galaxy (considering the arms and the bulge separately and adding them) using stellar spectra which I ...
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0answers
26 views

Convert angular power spectrum to spatial power spectrum

If we have a signal projected on a sphere, one routinely decomposes this in spherical harmonics, in analogy to a Fourier decomposition in flat space. One can then make the decomposition: ...
2
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1answer
54 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. ...
2
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2answers
46 views

Seeing the shadow of a black hole

Why can't we see the shadow of a black hole cast on earth. Shouldn't the black hole block some light from a star or a galaxy far behind as they line up.
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0answers
59 views

How did Kepler infer three-dimensional positions from Tycho Brahe's data?

This has bugged me for some time. Tycho Brahe's data on planetary observations, presumably, consisted of the direction in which a planet was observed at a given date and time. What techniques did ...
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0answers
38 views

Getting signals from a probe light years away

Is it only because we don't have fast enough spacecrafts that we don't send probes to nearby stars? Do we have sufficient radio technology? If a probe like new horizons was as far as the nearest ...
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1answer
20 views

Calculating the size of exoplanets with moons

When astronomers detect an exoplanet using its transit and calculate its size to be, say twice the earths size, do they have any way of knowing that its actually not a slightly smaller planet with a ...