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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Negative density solutions of the Poisson's Equation for polytropic gas (aka Lane-Emden Equation)

Question: What does it mean by when we obtain negative density for specific region in space as a solution of Poisson's equations? I will explain the situation as detailed as possible, so that anyone ...
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34 views

What are some current models for neutron star core? [on hold]

How are neutron star cores described today, do we use models of superfluidity/superconductivity for instance?
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37 views

Discrepancy problem in lithium?

Why is there a discrepancy between the amount of lithium-7 predicted to be produced in Big Bang nucleosynthesis and the amount observed in very old stars?
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227 views

Where is all the Dark Matter? Theoretical Question

In my Physics Class we had to look into possible areas where Dark Matter could be "hiding." Such as Black Holes and so on. Dark matter really can be "seen" through its gravitational effects, and we ...
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51 views

Is it possible that Mercury collided with Earth, thus creating the Moon?

I recently heard a theory that Mercury might have been bigger before a massive collision that shrunk it and sent it on its current orbit. I also heard that a possible explanation for the formation of ...
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Accretion disks on neutron star binaries

Why does hydrogen gas from accretion disks not constantly get sucked onto/into a neutron star or into a black hole? I understand that some gets sucked into the black hole and some may come down and ...
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23 views

Who orbits who? Earth or Sun [duplicate]

We always say that the earth orbits the sun, but how can we prove this? Could we not say that the sun orbits the earth or that the earth orbits Mars?
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19 views

Primordial galaxies and associated mass of blackholes [duplicate]

How could primordial galaxies or quasars at great redshifts like quasar ULAS J1120+0641 (detected as per when the universe was 700 mill years old) have blackholes at their centers with the mass of 2 ...
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13 views

Full ionization meaning

I'm confused as to what full ionization mean? I have the mean molecular weight of electrons and ions and I have to calculate the ideal gas pressure for a star. Do I have to add them up as usual or do ...
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1answer
26 views

What polytropic index should I use for spherical accretion onto a degenerate object?

Take a degenerate object, such as a white dwarf, embedded in a gas cloud. The cloud is small enough such that the size of the object is non-negligible in comparison - that is, the white dwarf takes up ...
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59 views

Metric inside a sphere of uniform density?

Is an exact solution to Einstein's Field Equations known for the interior of a sphere of uniform density (to approximate a star or planet, for example?)
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150 views

Why are neutron stars mostly composed of neutrons?

I understand that it is due to electron capture $(p + e \rightarrow n + v_e)$. My precise question is: What are the conditions needed for a star core to start undergoing this process at a large ...
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In a supergiant star, is the energy transport inside the star mostly convective or radiative?

I know this has to do with the super-adiabatic and adiabatic characteristics in stars, but I'm unfamiliar with them. I'd love some discussion on this topic. Additionally, what determines the ...
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Why is the release of energy during the He-flash in stars almost explosive?

Can't really put 2-2 and together as to how having an inert degenerate He core translates to a He-flash. Also, at which points exactly do degeneracy and the He-flash start occurring?
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Is it possible to calculate the radius of star?

Suppose I know the Luminosity $L$, temperature $T$ and Mass $M$ of star. Assuming the star is very heavy so that we can treat it to be radiation-dominated star. This would imply that pressure inside ...
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2answers
56 views

Is it possible for a planet to be “axially locked”?

What I mean is, can a planet orbiting its sun have a fixed rotational axis relative to the sun ie in the case of earth the tilt is like this /........(sun)......./. as it goes around the sun. ...
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Is Gravitational Lensing Wrong?

Could gravitational lensing be the refraction of hydrogen, helium, gases and cosmic dust? Refraction is the change in direction of propagation of a wave due to a change in its transmission medium. ...
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Perturbations of planetary Orbits

I have, for years, been an Astronomy and physics nerd. For the first while, I was a total astronomy nerd. Then I slowly transitioned into physics and have been, for less than a year, a physics nerd. ...
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495 views

What is a peryton?

It is a bit hard to find an accessible explanation online. I find the word "peryton" in some papers about radio astronomy, here's one example: http://arxiv.org/abs/1503.05245 I don't think they refer ...
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Force and lions

Alright. So me and some other people right now need an answer to this. If you have 1 trillion lions traveling at 81 kilometers (top speed of a lion) towards the Sun in a pretty dense ball. (As dense a ...
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Violation of Pauli exclusion principle

From hyperphysics (emphasis mine): Neutron degeneracy is a stellar application of the Pauli Exclusion Principle, as is electron degeneracy. No two neutrons can occupy identical states, even under ...
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47 views

What is the limit for the size of a galaxy?

The largest known galaxy is just 100x more massive than Milky Way. I wonder if there is some physical mechanism (some equilibrium) which limits the size of galaxies or if it is just because of limited ...
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Which technique is used to measure huge astronomical distances which are in terms of billions of light years? [duplicate]

I know what a "light year" means. However, I am very curious to know about the technique through which scientists are able to calculate the distance of various astronomical bodies from earth which are ...
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What would it be like “inside” a star?

This question was triggered by a discussion regarding the computer game Elite: Dangerous, where spaceships routinely operate in close proximity to stars (two or three light seconds away), at which ...
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39 views

PP Chain and CNO cycle relationship

At what temperature would the energy generation rates of the PP-Chain and CNO cycles be roughly equivalent? The dependences are so vastly different that I am wondering how and by what equations they ...
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1answer
45 views

How much mass is typically ejected from a supernova?

How much mass is released from a supernova of a 15 solar-mass star? 20? 25? What is the relation between star mass and mass ejected?
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How much atmospheric pressure (CO2) is required to carry iron oxide dust in the wind?

It is common knowledge that there are dust devils and dust storms on Mars. But can we demonstrate that the atmospheric pressure on Mars, which is 0.6% of the pressure we experience on Earth, provides ...
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Can the Sun capture dark matter gravitationally?

I think my title sums it up. Given that we think the dark matter is pseudo-spherically distributed and orbits in the Galactic potential with everything else, then I assume that its speed with respect ...
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What does it mean for a state to have a negative partial decay width?

I don't understand what it means when a particular decay mode has a negative partial decay width. I'm guessing the total decay width for a particular system must always be positive (now that wouldn't ...
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Why are stars white?

That is may be a easy question, but I am not a professional. The sun is a star and when I look at the sun is usually yellow. Why stars in the night are white? I suppose is for the distance. What is ...
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1answer
52 views

Angular momentum in planetary disk formation

This question is actually more linked to astronomy and astrophysics than to pure physics. I tried posting it on the astronomy page, however it got no answers, so I though this page might help. ...
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1answer
35 views

Tidal tails of galaxies after collision

When there is a collision of 2 disc shaped galaxies, there is a tail formation created from both the galaxies. I read here that this was due to tidal forces, but I couldn't figure out how this ...
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1answer
78 views

Mass-to-light ratio and rotation curve from brightness profile

This should probably be basic but I've been looking for days and I can't find how to (I'm probably over complicating, but still). I want to calculate a rotation curve for some spiral galaxies. From ...
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2answers
67 views

Name for Earth?

What is the proper word for 'Earth', as in 'Solar' and 'Lunar'? I cannot find this anywhere; I am guessing there is a word that starts with geo?
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Metal-rich star formation

While discussing star formation on cosmological scales with some classmates, we mentioned the breakdown between the different stellar populations via metallicity: Population III: $Z = [{\rm Fe/H}] ...
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The standard textbook on supernovae?

This is a straightforward question: What is considered to be the standard treatment of supernovae? Could be a textbook, lecture notes, review article, etc.
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Why does fusion stop at iron when nickel is most tightly bound?

My understanding is that stellar fusion naturally stops at iron because it is energetically unfavourable to grow the nucleus further. But iron is only the third most tightly-bound nucleus, nickel is ...
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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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542 views

How is a blackbody spectrum formed in the Sun?

Sunlight can be treated as BB radiation. Why is it a continuous spectrum while the sun contains only a few elements and the radiation from the jumps between atomic levels are discrete? How does the ...
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1answer
166 views

What types of fusion reactions happened in population III stars?

I have read that, in smaller stars, such as our Sun, the fusion reaction that takes place is a proton-proton chain, or PP chain for short. From what I have learned, in larger stars, a different ...
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What was the significance of the ionization caused by the Population III stars?

I am reading that the ultraviolet light that radiated from the first stars would ionize the surrounding gas and apparently, all of the matter in the universe would eventually become ionized. So, ...
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4answers
286 views

What happens during gravitational collapse to cause the formation of a star?

I know that stars are formed from dense regions in large gas clouds. I know that when gravity causes the mass of the clump to get so big that its internal pressure can't sustain it, it collapses and ...
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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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Is there a limit as to how fast a black hole can grow?

Astronomers find ancient black hole 12 billion times the size of the Sun. According to the article above, we observe this supermassive black hole as it was 900 million years after the formation of ...
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Woltjer's Theorem, partial or total derivative?

Morning everyone.. I am currently studying Plasma Physics on a recent book named "Basics of Plasma Astrophysics" by Claudio Chiuderi and Marco Velli. While demonstrating Woltjer's Theorem they state ...
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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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What's the cause of this gap in this simulation of the Nice model?

A previous question brought me to this video (which has a spectacular change at about 0:34). It shows the orbits of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and what appear to be trans-Neptunian objects. ...
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Solar System Snow Line: 5AU or 2.7AU?

I am trying to update the Wikipedia article "Frost Line (astrophysics)". During my last update (by QuantumShadow), I noticed that different sources cite different values for Solar System water ice ...
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Density of an astrophysical ring of fluid around a star

*An equilibrium ring of isothermal fluid orbits a star at radius R. In the plane of the ring, mechanical equilibrium results from a balance of centrifugal force and the gravitational force of the ...
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How can a gas giant be about the same size but six times more massive than Jupiter?

I've just read this article: http://www.sci-news.com/astronomy/science-kepler-432b-new-super-jupiter-exoplanet-02490.html And I wondered how this could be possible? Maybe it's because this gas giant ...