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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How can contact binaries persist?

This answer discusses contact binaries, which I did not even know existed. I can understand how they could exist for a short time (maybe) as gravitational waves carry off energy that causes the stars' ...
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Why do TiO bands dominate M dwarfs?

I'm new at understanding stellar classification and the spectral classification of stars. What is the exact reason TiO molecules (titanium oxide) dominate the spectrum for M dwarfs? How did this TiO ...
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1answer
86 views

What is the largest possible mass for a stable planet made of iron?

Consider a large spherical planet made of pure iron. Think of something similar to Mercury or Earth without its mantle, only much bigger, though those planets have elements other than iron mixed in ...
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25 views

Short Gamma Ray Bursts from black hole mergers

I have read in passing that short gamma ray bursts can be caused by the merger of 2 black holes in a binary system. I have Googled but can't seem to find any good sources describing the phenomenon ...
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1answer
37 views

Quantum gravity- Vacuum catastrophe

Why does the predicted mass of the quantum vacuum have a very little effect on the expansion of the universe?
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Black-hole meets Black-hole [duplicate]

What will happen if a black hole collides with another black hole of equal mass and diameter and what will be its effect on light?
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Do gamma ray bursts play a role in cosmic evolution?

If gamma ray bursts were to interact with gas clouds in the early universe, might it be a relevant factor in star production?
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1answer
38 views

Is it possible that a satellite once was a small planet?

Very common fact that a planet has satellite which revolves around it and has an impact on that planet too.Is it possible that a small planet had been bombarded with a big planet and transformed ...
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Region of resonance and overlap

In planetary dynamics what does a region of resonance (mean motion) between two bodies mean and how to quantify the region? How does resonance overlap occur and what are its consequences? What is ...
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38 views

What is the supernovae? [closed]

Supernovae are exploding stars. They represent the very final stages of evolution for some stars. Supernovae, as celestial events, are huge releases of tremendous energy, as the star ceases to exist, ...
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58 views

Shoemaker-Levy 9 impact on Jupiter

When the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacted with Jupiter it created a ball of fire 3000 Km high and it left a mark on the surface of the planet that was visible for weeks (source: Wikipedia). How was the ...
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1answer
30 views

How was hydrogen gas (H) obtained by spectroscopists? Why is there more H than H2 in space?

Introductory quantum mechanics lessons talk about emission and absorption spectra for the hydrogen gas, and then give you an explanation as if this gas were pure $H$ atoms, and not the $H_2$ molecule ...
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How can we determine the internal structure of a star from distance?

See here for the discussion leading to this question. In essence, I was wondering whether there were methods to differentiate between a star destined to become neutron star and a star destined to ...
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2answers
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How much of an asteroid mass can be in platinum or rare metals?

There are many articles about the 2011 UW-158 asteroid which will pass earth tonight. The interesting thing about this asteroid is that it is said to contain $5.4 trillion worth of platinum. Many ...
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Geometry of magnetic field lines in plasmas/MHD

So I'm trying to gain an intuitive grasp of plasmas and magnetohydrodynamics. There's a couple of questions I have. What does it means magnetic field lines are frozen into "plasmas"? Is it that ...
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1answer
56 views

What is the process that causes a collapsing star to bounce back? [duplicate]

Can someone explain the process by where a star collapses and bounces back. I haven't been able to find a good explanation of the bounce.
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1answer
25 views

Using gravity assitance or turn to return back a spacecraft

I wonder why gravity assist is not also used to return missions back to Earth? I assume the space shuttle is too expensive with its accessories and could be a money and time saving to reuse it, ...
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1answer
29 views

Is there any evidence from observational cosmology to say Dark Energy dominated era begins 5 billion years ago

People say that Dark Energy Dominated era begin 5 billion years ago. Do we have evidence for that from observations
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Synchrotron radiation derivation

In the derivation of synchrotron radiation in a standard text (J.D. Jackson/Rybicki & Lightman), we do it by taking instantaneous circular motion of the electron, because the power emitted by ...
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Did the Sun form around a solid core?

When Jupiter formed I assume like the other planets it started as tiny clumps of matter that eventually came together, became gravitationally bound and then eventually captured a lot of gas. I've also ...
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3answers
584 views

Pure hydrogen star

What is the smallest mass of pure hydrogen that can ignite fusion? That is can population III stars have tiny masses? How would such stars develop? How long would such a star last?
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The impossible layering inside Red Giant Stars

The layers of matter inside the Giant Red Stars are: a deep core of Carbon/Oxigen surrounded by Helium. While the relative masses are He-4, C-12, O-16 the density in solids are ordering in solids and ...
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39 views

Difference between Enzo & Gadget astronomy simulation codes

Enzo and Gadget are simulation codes used in astronomy. What are the largest differences between them both in terms of physics they simulate and in their implementations?
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1answer
198 views

Are the electrons at the centre of the Sun degenerate or not?

Trying to find an answer to this question, I came across two different methods of determining whether electrons at the center of the sun are degenerate or not. The first method, used here, calculates ...
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2answers
134 views

Can the Sun's core be treated as an ideal gas?

I know that a gas behaves more like an ideal gas at higher temperature, and that is very well achieved in the Sun's core. But also low pressure is needed for a gas to behave like an ideal gas, and the ...
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1answer
31 views

Sol Lagrange points

Where are the Sol-Sagittarius A* Lagrange points, what is located there, have we ever focused a telescope to look? And the larger question, could the existence of these points offer some explanation ...
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1answer
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Why do elements on the Binding Energy per Nuclear Molecule after Iron (most stable) even form?

So I was reading about the stability of elements based on Nuclear Binding Energy, and I saw that the 'Iron group' of elements were most tightly bound and hence most stable, and that is why the graph ...
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1answer
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Galaxy bias and baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO)

I have a doubt with the concept of galaxy bias and how it affects baryon acoustic oscillations, it is supposed to mean that by measuring the distribution of galaxies we are not measuring the actual ...
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2answers
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What's the point of looking at distances beyond $13,7$ billion light years?

Question: Provided that the age of the universe is $13.7$ billion years, but the actual radius is $48$ billion ly, what are we really going to see if we built a telescope powerful enough to reach ...
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1answer
97 views

Did dark matter cause the formation of the Solar System?

This question is related to my previous question on Solar System Formation and is a pure thought experiment, with as few as possible assumptions made. From my previous question, I learned that stars ...
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1answer
68 views

Free neutrons in the sun's core?

In the standard description of proton-proton fusion, the first step of the interaction proceeds through the unbound diproton $\rm^2He$: $$ \begin{aligned} \rm p + p &\to \rm {}^2He^* \\ \rm ^2He^* ...
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2answers
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Do we know what event caused the Sun and Solar System to form?

Some stellar formation theories suggest that stars are formed by shock waves from trigger events such as supernovae. This excerpt from Star Formation basically gives the background to my question: ...
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1answer
538 views

What is the future of gravitional lensing? [closed]

What do physicists expect to find or accomplish with gravitational lensing in the next 15 years? Is there a specific type of object, or a concept that they are looking for?
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1answer
66 views

Calculating the Surface Temperature of the Sun with a Metallic Strip from the Surface of Earth

I am trying to calculate the surface temperature of the sun with a copper strip. I have a temperature sensor to calculate the temperature of the strip and that's it. Assuming the rate at which energy ...
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1answer
47 views

What is the dimensionless central potential in a King Model?

King Models are commonly used to model stellar clusters. I understand that they are described by a surface brightness profile $$ \Sigma (r) = \frac{\Sigma (0)}{(1+r/r_0)^2} $$ as described here. In ...
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1answer
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What is the heaviest stable element in the center of the sun due to Photodisintegration?

Source that got me curious (page 5): http://astro1.physics.utoledo.edu/~megeath/ph6820/lecture27_ph6820.pdf High energy photons can cause larger, less stable elements to undergo fission. Uranium ...
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1answer
85 views

How do black hole jets form? [duplicate]

A black hole, neutron star or any object that has accumulated an accretion disc, sometimes features opposing jets, positioned perpendicular to the accretion disc. I understand that these jets are ...
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1answer
57 views

Do Massive Twin Quasar Jets Condense into separate Spiral Galaxies?

I was looking at a quasar, radio image of “Cygnus A”. Do the massive twin quasar jets condense into two separate galaxies? Do the average twin quasar jet emissions, plasma, condense, turn into ...
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684 views

How exactly does a solar flare cause a power line surge?

There are occasional large scale electrical blackouts caused by solar flares. Quebec Solar Flare Blackout My question is: what affects the severity of the problem? It obviously depends on the ...
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1answer
68 views

Boltzmann equation in cosmology

I have a question about the Boltzmann equation in cosmology. Im trying to understand how this can hold? Where does the logarithmic terms come from? It is explained quite well here ...
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1answer
54 views

Is a matter anti-matter collision comparable to Gamma Ray Burst (GRB) energy output?

Is a matter anti-matter collision (please assume two cosmological objects, neutron star sized say), the largest energy release method known? Would it be comparable in order of magnitude to gamma ray ...
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If planet like Jupiter is massive enough to hold hydrogen with its gravity is it bound to become a star?

I have been reading about Jupiter as of late and reason I am asking is if Jupiter has strong enough gravity to pull hydrogen to itself then it should be only matter of time when it will acquire enough ...
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1answer
61 views

Shape of galaxies [duplicate]

i want to know why galaxies are spiral in nature.. let us say there is some sort of intense mass (black hole?) at the centre of our milky way galaxy. the intense gravitaional pull is keeping evey ...
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1answer
47 views

If I observe a planet because of reflected sun-light, how does the radiant flux vary with distance?

I wish to figure out how the flux of the sun's reflected light from a planet varies with distance, so assume an observer is on the sun, looking at a planet, and the light originating from the planet ...
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1answer
80 views

Crab pulsar radiation

Regarding the radiation from the Crab pulsar and nebula, some reading leads me to the following conclusions. The rotation energy of the neutron star is the source of the non-thermal electromagnetic ...
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1answer
33 views

Pulsar age determination

In one method to determine the age of a pulsar one assumes the spinning frequency $\nu$ to obey $\nu=-k\cdot\dot{\nu}^n$ where $k$ is some constant and $n$ is the braking index of the pulsar. For the ...
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2answers
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Do the outer gas planets radiate their mass?

We know that the sun experiences angular momentum loss, and radiates a portion of it's mass (though helicity is conserved). Can we say the same about massive Jupiter, or even Saturn, Uranus or ...
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1answer
70 views

Typical rotation speeds for black holes

I am curious as to how rapidly most black holes are spinning. A refinement of the question could be: how rapidly are typical supermassive black holes spinning? I ask because I have the impression ...
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1answer
76 views

Properties of a star made from water? [closed]

What would the properties of a star formed from a sphere a water/ice be? One large (massive) enough to collapse into an ordinary, mostly plasma star. I understand that it would have particularly high ...
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Would a collision of two black holes emit any electromagnetic radiation?

The video linked in this answer shows how space-time would be distorted during such an event. No doubt such an event would be an extremely strong source of gravitational waves. But would anything be ...