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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What determines a progenitor's fate as a spiral or elliptical?

I was thinking about my answer to Are the inner planets on planar orbits because there was more dust in the inner solar system (early on in planetary accretion)? - when it occurred to me that maybe I ...
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1answer
25 views

Would the time dilation from being in low orbit around a black hole delay/slow the effects of quantum tunneling?

If quantum tunneling will cause rigid objects like rocks to rearrange their atoms into a slow-moving liquid-like state in ~10^65 years, could an object delay this fate through time dilation in a low, ...
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5answers
7k views

Stephen Hawking says universe can create itself from nothing, but how exactly?

Stephen Hawking says in his latest book The Grand Design that, Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Is it not circular logic? I mean, how ...
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11k views

What's the difference between gas and plasma?

A friend stated that stars are hot balls of gas, however we know that technically stars are plasma. Is his statement entirely incorrect? Can a plasma be considered a form of gas or should be referred ...
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1answer
90 views

Where do the bipolar jets of black holes come from?

How are they formed? And why are they so bright?
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2answers
186 views

Where does a star's angular momentum go as its spin slows down?

So we know that stars slow down as they age. But total angular momentum must be conserved. Where does that angular momentum go? The dissipation of Earth's tides somehow transfers Earth's angular ...
3
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1answer
638 views

At what temperature does water become a liquid on Mars? On the asteroids? And in a vacuum?

I know that I can just read off the phase diagram for water (for the surface atmospheric pressure on each object). But could there possibly be some nuances that someone might miss just from viewing ...
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0answers
164 views

Are there formulae for calculating stellar luminosity and effective temperature as a function of age? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Are there formulae for calculating stellar luminosity and effective temperature as a function of age? Is there a manageable formula or set of formulas or simple ...
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2answers
356 views

Are there formulae for calculating stellar luminosity and effective temperature as a function of age?

Is there a manageable formula or set of formulas or simple algorithms that approximate stellar luminosity and effective temperature (or radius) as a function of stellar age? I'm aware that accurate ...
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1answer
30 views

Is there a method to estimate the atomic yield of a supernova of a given size?

Given a supernova with stellar mass $M$, is there a theoretical method to estimating the isotope yield? If so, what processes are taken into account, and how accurate can the estimate be? Would it be ...
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1answer
493 views

What is “Strong Force” & “Weak Force” in Astronomy terms?

What is "Strong Force" & "Weak Force" in Astronomy terms?
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2answers
8k views

Is Jupiter a failed star?

In my physics lessons, my teachers have always been keen to tell my class that Jupiter is considered a 'failed star' by scientists. Is this true? In my own effort I wondered if maybe this could just ...
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1answer
84 views

How are new nebulae being created?

The nebulae we see in the night sky are forming new stars. The stars are eating up the nebulae and there is no obvious process in which those nebulae are being created to compensate for that. ...
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2answers
251 views

Is there evidence of dark matter in our galaxy?

Is there evidence of dark matter in our galaxy? How can we measure this, say, how many percent of the center of our galaxy is dark matter? I did not find the answer in the question What's Dark ...
7
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1answer
34 views

Temperature of WIMPs

As a dark matter candidate, what should be the temperature and kinetic energy (or also the speed) of the WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particles) to agree with the observed distribution of dark ...
7
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3answers
61 views

Cosmic background radiation vs superfluids

I've been reading a lot about superfluids lately (fluids that are cooled to such a degree that they no longer obey the standard laws of physics) in various physics journals and realized that the ...
10
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1answer
2k views

How dense are nebulae?

How functionaly dense are nebulae? Are they so sparse they are only visible from an interstellar or intergalactic perspective or would you be unable to see your hand in one? Do they vary widely in ...
9
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3answers
908 views

Can black holes actually merge?

If time stops at the event horizon, can we ever detect two black holes merging? In other words, if you are a short distance away, would you encounter a spherically symmetric gravitational field, or a ...
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5answers
910 views

How is it possible for astronomers to see something 13B light years away?

In a NPR News story from a few years back: "A gamma-ray burst from about 13 billion light years away has become the most distant object in the known universe." I'm a layman when it comes ...
9
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4answers
3k views

What is the strongest evidence that anti-matter exists?

Every space show I watch mentions that anti-matter used to exist, or still does and we just can't detect it. I think some shows even say we can create a small amount of anti-matter. It is not ...
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2answers
847 views

How can a Population III star be so massive?

How can a Population III star have a mass of several hundred solar masses? Normally the limit is about 100 solar masses.
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1answer
2k views

Why it is said that Universe is an isolated system?

I have read in many places "Entropy of an isolated systems never decreases" And as a corollary: "As Universe is an isolated system(I) then its entropy is constantly increasing(II)" I) ...
7
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2answers
428 views

What elements can be created in the fusion process of different types of stars?

As I understand it fusion inside a sun can produce heavier and heavier elements until some sort of "nucleus size limit" is reached. As far as I understand, the limit is thought to be reached with the ...
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1answer
247 views

Mass of a galaxy via Luminosity [closed]

Is there a way of calculating the mass of a galaxy, or even a nebula from the luminosity? EDIT I'm deleting this, and moving the question to Astronomy Stack Exchange - thanks david
6
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1answer
29 views

Lack of exoplanet missions in the decadal survey

In recent exoplanet meeting "The Next 40 Years of Exoplanets", there was much discussion of the inablity of the community to agree on whether to support coronagraph missions or interferometer ...
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4answers
241 views

Could dark energy be the effect of gravity at great distances?

This may be a silly question, but is it possible that dark energy and gravity are related to each other? Space-time is deformed everywhere in space by objects with mass. The more massive the object, ...
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4answers
210 views

What could cause a planet to have apparently random season lengths?

The world A Song of Fire and Ice series is set on is characterized by seasons that last several years (how years are measured on this planet is not specified to my knowledge). However, they are of ...
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2answers
2k views

Do we know exactly how fast we are going relative to the center of the galaxy

I mean total inertial on my body siting here at my computer "California US." Ok so the earth is rotating on its axis and in turn around the sun and the sun around the galaxy. The object the question ...
2
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1answer
166 views

Will the sun cool and produce a disrupting EMP?

Scientists say rare drop in sunspot activity could cause global cooling http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business-tech/science/110615/science-news-solar-flares-sunspots-global-warming ...
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4answers
686 views

Can a moon have another large body as a satellite, and are there any examples of such?

In my mind, I'm comparing it to the Sun-Earth-Moon system. After all, the Earth is primarily a satellite of the Sun, but the Moon is still gravitationally bound to the Earth. Could something like this ...
16
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2answers
277 views

Recommend good book(s) about the “scientific method” as it relates to astronomy/astrophysics?

I am interested in astronomy/astrophysics, but I am not science major (I am a computer science graduate). Facts and results of the field are presented to the public without showing how these ...
7
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3answers
136 views

How would two equally massed stars orbit?

In an empty universe, except for two equally massed stars, how would they orbit? Or, for another example, if the earth suddenly grew to be the mass of the sun, how would they orbit, or interact? Would ...
4
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1answer
47 views

Why do astronomers say that there is not enough matter in Universe?

I was reading today about the birth of the Universe and the conjectures about the matter that was supposed to exist at the moment of the Big Bang and what can be measured now. There seems to be some ...
8
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3answers
125 views

What's dark matter and who discovered it?

I have heard about dark matter that's called the Master Of The Universe. What's this and is the dark matter the reason galaxies exist?
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2answers
411 views

How can a spiral galaxy exist?

A spiral arm orbiting a central mass should be dispersed quite quickly as the outer elements would move more slowly than the inner ones. The Milky Way, is about 59 Galactic Years old, which, one would ...
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1answer
2k views

When will the Moon reach escape velocity?

From what I know, the Moon is accelerating away from the Earth. Do we know when it will reach escape velocity? How do we calculate this?
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0answers
45 views

What allows the modified Urca process to work at lower density than direct Urca in neutron star cooling? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What allows the modified Urca process to work at lower density than direct Urca in neutron star cooling? This comes from an unanswered question over at physics.se: The ...
13
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3answers
2k views

Why does each celestial object spin on its own axis?

AFAIK all the celestial objects have a spin motion around its axis. What is the reason for this? If it must rotate by some theory, what decides it's direction and speed of rotation? Is there any ...
23
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3answers
1k views

What nonlinear deformations will a fast rotating planet exhibit?

It is common knowledge among the educated that the Earth is not exactly spherical, and some of this comes from tidal forces and inhomogeneities but some of it comes from the rotation of the planet ...
3
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1answer
610 views

Universe Expansion as an absolute time reference

Why we call "constant" to the Hubble constant?, if the universe were really expanding then the Hubble "constant" should change, being variable, smaller and smaller..with "time". Other example/view ...
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1answer
609 views

Has Cosmological Natural Selection been disproved?

I've been reading Lee Smolin's Life of the Cosmos. Great book and it makes a lot of sense that the conditions in black holes are the same as conditions at the big bang. Question is, has his theory ...
1
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1answer
543 views

Neutron star material

I've read on NASA's page on neutron star that one teaspoonful of that star would weigh over 20 billion ton on Earth. If it was somehow possible to bring it to earth would it: A) Burn and disappear ...
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1answer
1k views

What is the ram-facing side of spacecraft?

what is the ram-facing side of a satellite? What does it mean and why is it called "ram"-facing? Thanks.
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3answers
994 views

The Pioneer anomaly finally explained?

Pioneer 10 & 11 are robotic space probes launched by the NASA in the early 1970's. After leaving our solar system, an unusual deceleration of both spacecrafts has been measured to be approximately ...
2
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1answer
135 views

Black Holes and String states

We seem to know that black hole energy, and apparently event horizon geometry and topology, are functions of Mass, Charge and Angular Momentum. Area is a function of geometry and topology as well, ...
4
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3answers
250 views

stability of hypothetical lunar atmosphere

Assume that by some means, the moon could be given an atmosphere, of the same density and pressure at the surface as the earth's. Obviously in a stable atmosphere there are temperature variations from ...
13
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1answer
689 views

Would a submarine float in the atmosphere of Jupiter?

Would a submarine float in the atmosphere of Jupiter, or would it get crushed?
2
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1answer
251 views

How does inflation drive Ω close to 1?

I'll keep it simple. How does inflation drive Ω close to 1?
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2answers
263 views

Is it possible to orbit the sun next to Earth?

With Geostationary orbit your limited to the equator and ~36000km. Would it be possible to orbit the sun at the same speed as Earth, and then in basically the same place so that the distance to the ...
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1answer
132 views

Half-massive sphere in space [on hold]

A sphere contains all the mass on one side while the other side is empty of matter. Both sides are separated by a strong material, you name it, that will keep the sphere together. Given that the mass ...