The application of physical theory to celestial systems such as stars, planets, galaxies, supernovae, and black holes. Astrophysics proper is concerned with explaining phenomena more so than making observations, the latter falling under the purview of astronomy.

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Is there a binary black hole system in the middle of the galaxy?

We have observed gravity effects from black holes in the center of galaxies, but galactic centers are so dusty that we can’t tell if it’s one black hole or two black holes in a binary system in there. ...
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5answers
5k views

Why aren't there spherical galaxies?

According to the Wikipedia page on Galaxy Types, there are four main kinds of galaxies: Spirals - as the name implies, these look like huge spinning spirals with curved "arms" branching out ...
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0answers
18 views

Why is it presumed that “Recent Venus” is a boundary of the Solar System's optimistic habitable zone?

I have a question concerning the optimistic inner boundary of Solar System's habitable zone, called the "Recent Venus". I couldn't find an answer in the internet that would put everything to places, ...
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2answers
72 views

Differences between astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology? [on hold]

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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2answers
50 views

Habitable zones around other stars

I have a question about measuring the boundaries of habitable zones on other planets. Is it okay to assume that, if Sun's habitable zone starts at a distance $R_0$ and its luminosity is $L_0$, we can ...
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3answers
119 views

How far has a 13.7 billion year old photon travelled

I've read that the size of the observable Universe is thought to be around ~46 billion light years, and that the light we see from the most distant galaxies were emitted ~13.7 billion years ago as a ...
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0answers
15 views

Expansion rate in matter dominated era [duplicate]

Do physicists know what the expansion rate of the Universe was at the beginning of the matter dominated era?
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1answer
51 views

Is there a scientific term for star formation?

It might be my stupidity to think that many laymen terms that most people use to describe some physics phenomena usually have a scientifically accepted term or name? The process of star formation, ...
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1answer
66 views

Has the number of new stars born decreased over time? And why?

Has the number of new stars being formed decreased at all over the age of the universe? Would this be because the average density of the universe is decreasing due to the expansion of the universe, it ...
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1answer
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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2answers
63 views

Why does a photon take less than a week to come out of the convection zone of the sun?

Sun consists of three parts: Radiation zone, Convection zone, Photosphere . When photon is formed at the core, it has high energy equivalent to $\gamma$ ray. When it crosses the radiation zone, it ...
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0answers
28 views

Does degeneracy affect the adiabatic relation?

The adiabatic relation is $P=K\rho^\gamma$. For ideal monotomic gas $\gamma$ is 5/3. For nonrelativistic degenerate electron(inside white dwarf), $\gamma$ is also 5/3. Is this just an coincidence? ...
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30 views

Graviational Lensing Data

Can anyone provide me with (or point me to) real life gravitational lensing data that I can plug in to the first equation on this page (the standard lensing equation): ...
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5answers
1k views

Is it possible to increase temperature of sun using radiation of sun itself?

We know that we can focus radiation of sun and can burn a paper. If we think of this thought experiment, will that happen? If someone constructs a concave mirror on the sun and concentrate radiation ...
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3answers
166 views

What is the origin of spin of celestial objects?

In an older question from June 2011, Why does each celestial object spin on its own axis?, apparently revived by the system, a user is asking about the origin of the rotation of celestial bodies. The ...
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1answer
32 views

Can a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) cause a blackout on Earth and why?

Can a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) cause a blackout on Earth and why is it so what's the relation between electro magnetic radiations and electrical and electronic appliance.what exactly does it do to ...
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1answer
27 views

If matter and antimatter were produced equally during the big bang, where is the rest of the antimatter? [duplicate]

As far as my understanding goes, during the 'Big Bang' equal amounts of matter and antimatter (matter's oppositely charged twin) were produced, and the physical matter that remains within this ...
2
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2answers
50 views

Electromagnetism in astrophysics

What is the most important electromagnetic phenomena involved in astrophysics?, I am working in a presentation of magnetars, pulsars and magnetic field of planets and I would like to know if there are ...
2
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0answers
39 views

Modelling gravitational potential of a galaxy

I am interested in modelling the gravitational potential of a disc-shaped galaxy with radius $R$, i.e. solving the 2D Poisson equation numerically by Gauss-Seidel relaxation: $$\nabla^2 \phi = 4\pi G ...
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0answers
29 views

Mathematical text for Astrophysics [closed]

Please recommend me some Mathematical text books and a list of Mathematical topics for Astrophysics.
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1answer
89 views

What would a normal thermometer read at the Sun's photosphere?

I was reading about the Earth's Thermosphere, and I quote this: "The highly diluted gas in this layer can reach 2,500 °C (4,530 °F) during the day. Even though the temperature is so high, one would ...
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1answer
39 views

Questions regarding the feasibility of “Jupiter”-like fusion reactor

I was reading this post from this website: Turning Jupiter into a star It basically talks about whether fusion can or does happen in the core of Jupiter. I know Jupiter cannot become a star, but I ...
7
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3answers
404 views

Why does a star's core not cool when it expands as a red giant?

When a star starts to run out of hydrogen to fuse, it begins to collapse due to gravity until the central core temperature rises to $10^8~\text{K}$ Then due the force generated by the fusion of ...
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1answer
55 views

Equation of State and Neutron star

I'm searching for equation of state books, with references to neutron star and ultra-dense matter.
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1answer
92 views

Nuclear fusion and the Sun [closed]

I am working on a science project on the Sun. I have found that in order for nuclear fusion to work, it needs both helium 3 and 4. Why can't nuclear fusion be done with just helium 4? How can we ...
12
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1answer
577 views

What is the theoretical lower mass limit for a gravitationally stable neutron star?

I ask here intentionally not for the size of the smallest possible observed size of neutron stars, which corresponds approximately to the well-known Chandrasekhar-limit for the upper limit of the ...
12
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3answers
269 views

What mechanism is responsible for the creation of these dunes on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko?

What mechanism is responsible for the creation of these dunes on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko? The following high resolution picture from ESA's Rosetta mission shows the dunes: At a distance ...
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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
47 views

Concerning the transtition between matter dominated universe and radiation dominated universe

What caused the transition, and how to we know that this did not warp our calculations for the age of the early universe ?
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3answers
72 views

Can astrophysical events outside the solar system lead to global warming of Earth?

The Sun probably easily dominates in its impact on the atmospheric temperature of Earth. However, for roughly half of each day, each side of Earth faces away from the Sun. Combined, the time spent ...
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0answers
28 views

Question on calculating the number density of free electrons in the sun's photosphere

I am writing a paper on the effect H$^-$ (a hydrogen atom with an additional electron) has on the opacity in the sun's photosphere. As such, I need to calculate its abundance. Doing so is ...
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2answers
62 views

Explanation for negative specific heat capacities in stars?

I've just found out that a negative specific heat capacity is possible. But I have been trying to find an explanation for this with no success. Negative heat capacity would mean that when a system ...
27
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3answers
3k views

When a planet is heated through gravitational pull, where is the energy taken from?

Jupiters moon Io is heated through the gravitational pull of Jupiter, but when Io is heated because of this, where does that energy come from? How does conservation of energy work for this effect, ...
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4answers
150 views

What is the actual energy content of the Sun?

Beside the energy released by nuclear fusion in the core, the Sun is a hot plasma of hydrogen and helium ranging from thousands to million of degrees. So how does that translate into energy ? I have ...
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0answers
30 views

What's so special about velocity dispersion relations in astrophysics (M-sigma relation, Tully-Fisher, etc)?

I'm confused. Velocity dispersion of stars is measured by Doppler broadening, and through virial theorem that provides information about enclosed masses of galaxy bulges, galaxies, etc, as explained, ...
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1answer
83 views

Why is the Oort cloud spherical?

Having read up a bit about the Oort cloud hypothesis, I find I don't quite understand this. Why is the Oort cloud spherical while the rest of the solar system is disk-shaped?
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2answers
428 views

How do you estimate the mass of a star?

How do we estimate the mass of a single star? I guess we need the luminosity the surface temperature, radius, distance, etc. But we know nothing about the reality, because we can measure the real ...
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0answers
19 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
97 views

What prevents a star from collapsing after stellar death?

When the star stops burning because heavier elements like Iron are formed in its core. Then the gas pressure stops and as you know the gas pressure helps keep a star in equilibrium because it provides ...
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1answer
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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1answer
30 views

Quasars with differing emission / absorption redshifts

I was reading this (perhaps offbeat) "anti-big-bang" article, http://www.newtonphysics.on.ca/hubble/ and the author comments "a recent catalog of objects having very large redshifts shows that among ...
11
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2answers
1k views

Storing a Planet-sized Chunk of Metal Inside a Star

Would it be physically possible to "store" a planet-size or larger sum of metal, say gold or platinum, inside a star by letting it fall to the core? Would it be possible to detect which stars had ...
2
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1answer
462 views

How are we sure a star is hot the whole way through?

Just an intuitive feeling that the surface of stars is extremely hot but under the surface all types of different atmospheres could exist and so the motion of energy could move through a star like xyz ...
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1answer
84 views

Solar granulation pictures showing a wonderous spatial resolution

Recently, I came across spectacular pictures of solar granulation like this: (source) The photograph is impressive because it has a resolution of less than 0.1 arc seconds, which corresponds to ...
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2answers
105 views

What happens to a white dwarf star if it has mass higher than the Chandrashekhar limit? [duplicate]

What will happen if a white dwarf star has mass higher than the Chandrasekhar limit, i.e. 1.4 times the mass of the Sun?
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0answers
38 views

Electron/positron annihilation lines in astrophysics

I have a reasonable understanding of electron/positron annihilation, in that it is a collision between a pair of particles, one matter and one antimatter, that generally produces gamma radiation. ...
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1answer
80 views

Help with equations for deflecting an asteroid

This is a homework assignment, but not the physics part. I have to write a python script to simulate the size of a warhead required to deflect an asteroid (parameters inputted by user) that is on a ...
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1answer
69 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...
3
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1answer
146 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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1answer
47 views

How can fusion within the sun be possible if there is no such thing as helium-2 (2 protons, no neutrons)

As stated in the question where does the sun(or other star) get the necessary neutron in order to produce the Helium atom? and how does this process occur (explain how the neutron incorporates).