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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What would earth have been without the moon?

Would earth have been more tidally locked to the Sun as Mercury and Venus? Due to the giant impact hypothesis the angular momentum from the impact was increased and split. If earth not would have ...
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21 views

Is there uncertainity of position of the perfectly homogenous radiating body? [on hold]

I heard the standard interpretation of Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle: Just the measurement affects the position of the body because always you want to see a body (=to measure the position), you ...
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43 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 ...
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astronomy & light pollution

If you were staring to the sky in a big city and electricity is turned off in a big area around you, would you be seeing the sky with little light pollution instantly?
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1answer
37 views

Why is cross section inversely proportional to wavelength for interstellar scattering?

The following problem was part of a homework for my Cosmology class: Compare the probability of interstellar scattering of photons of yellow light (5000 angstroms) and 50 micron infra-red light. ...
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39 views

Binary Mass Function Plot

Suppose that we have a circular eclipsing binary system with orbital period of $P = 2 \text{days}$, and with one star with a radial velocity of $v_{1r} = 100 km/s$. The other star is to dim for its ...
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75 views

Differences between astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology? [closed]

What is the main difference between Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Cosmology? I have the impression that astronomy is a subject that runs parallel to physics but it is outside the physics field. This ...
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48 views

How do scientists estimate elemental-abundance in the universe?

I understand how cosmological observations can estimate the amount of 'baryonic matter' in the universe, but what I don't understand is how scientists can estimate the abundance of a particular ...
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32 views

Algorithm for calculating lunar crescent visibility

Is there a simple algorithm for predicting lunar crescent visibility. Simple enough to do with a calculator at least. Those offered in Meeus' Astronomical Algorithms are a bit too involving to do by ...
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1answer
25 views

Mass of NGC 1097 Galaxy

I've been looking all over the internet for this and can't seem to find a reference. Can anyone refer me to a paper citing the mass of NGC 1097 based on luminosity?
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1answer
49 views

What will I see if I travelled to a distant planet in 100 times faster than speed of light and look back? [closed]

Consider this scenario. I enter a space ship at 10:00 AM, it starts to move at a speed 100 times faster than light, I travel for 55 mins. And then slow down to very much less than speed of light and ...
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141 views

What is the most distant object from the Earth that a spacecraft has visited to date?

What is the most distant object from the earth that a spacecraft visited has visited so far? What was the mission and when did it happen?
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Simplified calculation to find Lagrange point L1

I'm trying to find the position of Lagrange point L1 in the earth-moon system. To make the whole thing easier (I thought) I don't care about the sun's influence or any other forces than the ...
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366 views

Are the distances we measure to objects in the universe incorrect because of their relative motion?

For example the agreed distance to the Andromeda Galaxy is 2.5 million light years, and consequentially, we see the galaxy as it was 2.5 million years ago! (A time interval in which the galaxy must ...
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47 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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3answers
109 views

What can be seen with a 114mm Aperture 675x Zoom Telescope?

I choose to post this question on the physics exchange seeing there would be a bigger audience for answers than the astronomy exchange still in BETA. But i'm looking to buy a telescope and was ...
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1answer
39 views

Prerequisites for Ptolemy's Almagest

I hope this is a valid question to ask on this website (since it's astronomy and not e.g. mechanics, I wasn't so sure). What prerequisites are needed for fully understanding Ptolemy's Almagest. Fully ...
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1answer
59 views

Is the best data about Mercury's perihelion shift really 60 years old?

The advance of the perihelion of Mercury is one of the four classical tests of general relativity. I wonder what's the most precise modern measurement of it. However, while scanning the literature, ...
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3answers
391 views

Are there planetary systems where the planes of orbits vary greatly?

Inspired by this question, are there any known planetary systems with largely varying planes of orbit? For example a system where two planets have perpendicular planes?
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2answers
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Are comets known to exist in other star systems?

Are comets a feature unique to our Solar System? Or, are comets/cometary clouds detected around discovered/observed extra-solar systems too? If they were detected elsewhere, how do such cometary ...
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2answers
112 views

How do we estimate $10^{23}$ stars in the observable universe?

Now, I read somewhere, that there are $10^{23}$ stars in the observable universe. How did scientists estimate this?
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5answers
7k views

Having difficulties finding objects with Celestron Telescope

I have a Celestron Astromaster 114 EQ, which I saw was highly recommended as a great beginner scope. But I just can't seem to find anything in the sky with it. Yes, I've removed the lens cap, yes I've ...
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1answer
47 views

What fraction of baryonic matter is in stars?

We know from big bang nucleosynthesis that baryonic matter accounts for about 5% of the universe's total mass-energy density. What is the current best estimate of how much of this is in the form of ...
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2answers
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Calculating the time of dawn

Knowing that astronomical twilight (i.e. astronomical dawn) is when the sun is 18 degrees below the horizon, I am calculating the astronomical twilight time this way: ...
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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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1answer
1k views

How would one detect antihydrogen in the universe?

Since the spectra of hydrogen and antihydrogen are the same, how do astronomers know which one they're detecting? Is, perhaps, the Lamb shift in antihydrogen different?
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How do astronomers measure the distance to a star or other celestial object?

How do scientists measure the distance between objects in space? For example, Alpha Centauri is 4.3 light years away.
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How the distance and diameter of the stars are experimentally measured?

How to measure the distance of a star and the diameter of it from earth based tools? Normally we can measure the angle between the stars edge. But diameter or distance needed to measure the other ...
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1answer
473 views

Ephemeris calculations: Light time correction of the moon

I am currently trying to calculate apparent positions from raw JPL data. I've got it pretty much figured out, but there is one thing that's bugging me: Has the light time correction of the moon to be ...
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1answer
24 views

Interferometry works as a filter

I attended an astronomy seminar the other day and though I did not pick up much as it was on data collection etc, I did take away one sentence: "Interferometry works as a filter" Now I know what ...
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1answer
42 views

How to find how far away could a binary system be? [closed]

Human eye resolution is about one arcminute. Two stars in a binary system are separated by 10 AU. How far away can they be such that your eye could still distinguish them as two separate stars rather ...
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2answers
173 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 ...
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Calculating distance to a binary as well as star pair in cluster, based on reference star data of related spectral class

The problem at hand consists of calculating the absolute magnitude $M_V$ for a B0V type star, then the distance to a binary system with one star A1V and one B0V type star, and finally a star pair ...
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1answer
146 views

Why is there a line in the middle of the Planck full sky map?

Why there is a straight line (or perhaps a flat surface) in the middle of the Planck full sky map? and zoom (it makes it seem that the big bang was a collision between two unknown surfaces)
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32 views

The luminosity function

I'm trying to figure this out for the case... Supposedly the average luminosity will be equal to but how :S I know is the number density of galaxies per unit volume and luminosity but that ...
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188 views

Is there any dynamical reason for the winter solstice to happen close to the perihelion?

When the winter solstice arrives, the angular momentum of the Earth, its orbital angular momentum and its radius vector with the orbital focus in the Sun are in the same plane. This happens quite ...
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82 views

Why is the Moon not redder at moonrise/moonset?

Okay we all know about Raleigh Scattering, which makes the sky blue. And by the same token, sunsets appear red because sunlight traveling through more atmosphere will "lose more blueness" as it's ...
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2answers
323 views

What would we see if we looked at our Solar system from 2,000 light years away with our current technology?

Assuming the tables were turned and we would live in a system like Kepler-422/423/424, some 2,000 ly away. If we'd look at the Solar system with a telescope like Kepler and using techniques like ...
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6answers
432 views

Is antumbra part of shadow darker than penumbra part of shadow?

I'm exploring different types of shadows casted by objects. I want to know if antumbra part of a shadow is darker than penumbra part. I've found two misleading pictures on Wikipedia: First: Second: ...
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1answer
188 views

Analyse astronomical data

Recently I was told of a job offer to analyse astronomical data. The job offer states that they want somebody with knowledge of astronomical data analysis software and it will be a plus somebody who ...
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1answer
70 views

Do septuple (7), octuple (8) or nonuple (9) star system exist?

The highest I found so far is Castor, a sextuple star system. And there doesn't seem to be any other sextuple star system within at least 100 light-years...
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1answer
156 views

Standard gravitational parameter - different formulas

Why we have two formulas for Standard Gravitational Parameter: $$\mu=GM \ \,{\rm and}\, \mu = rv^2 \ .$$ I don't see any direct connection between the two formulas. How can we derive the second from ...
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69 views

Non-discoveries by the Kepler space telescope: exomoons, co-orbital planets, trojans

I am just reading the review article Advances in exoplanet science from Kepler (arxiv preprint: http://arxiv.org/abs/1409.1595), and I found a remarkable paragraph (last paragraph in section ...
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1answer
102 views

Is there a way to tell what centile of the overall sample a star's mass is in?

One hears that hyper-giant stars like Eta-carinae represent the upper bound on stellar mass at about 130 solar masses. At the lower end there are red dwarfs with as little as 0.075 solar mass. You ...
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1answer
134 views

How did all of the heavy elements on earth get here?

I have often read that a first generation star went supernova and seeded our solar system. It is well known that stars that go supernova are the source of elements heavier than iron. I guess I am ...
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131 views

Is redshift a reliable means to know how fast an object is moving away or towards an observer?

Does wavelength change with distance? How do they know that the change in wavelength can only be caused by the change of speed of the object to the observer? What if it is an intrinsic property of ...
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2k views

Is it possible to 3D print a mirror to create a high quality telescope?

Is it possible to 3D print a mirror with todays available materials? If so, would there be a reduction in image quality?
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1answer
48 views

Simplifying Friedmann's Equation

So we have one of Friedmann's equation: $$\rho_c = \frac{3H^2}{8\pi G}$$ Using This website, resources where gathered for specific times in the universe. The resources being the Hubble constant at ...
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Why does the Zodiacal light vary between dawn and dusk?

According to several pages, in the Fall the Zodiacal light is better seen at dawn than at dusk: In the mid-latitudes, the zodiacal light is best observed in the western sky in the spring after the ...
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What is the farthest-away star visible to the naked eye?

My girlfriend and I were watching Cosmos, and something Carl Sagan said got us wondering what the farthest-away visible star is. Obviously "visible to the naked eye" is a fuzzy concept that might have ...