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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Near-Earth supernova

There are 51 stars within 17 light years of the Earth (source). If one of these stars was to become a supernova, how would they effect the Earth? I have read the Wikipedia article Near-Earth ...
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14k views

Why are some galaxies flat?

What is the explanation for the flatness of some galaxies? (If it's due to their rotation then why they are rotating, why some other galaxies are not flat etc., I would like to hear a nice and ...
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1answer
1k views

Degree of ionization and Saha equation

Say you want to calculate degree of ionization for different gases in atmosphere of a star with abundances similar to those in Sun (let's assume you only have hydrogen, helium and sodium) over the ...
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1answer
131 views

What conditions should an asteroid or comet impact need to meet in order to start an impact winter?

Is there a way to calculate if an impact from a given asteroid (say 5 miles in diameter, solid rock to which we know the mass) would start an impact winter? If yes, I would like to see a real example ...
6
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1answer
310 views

How did enough material from other dying stars accumulate to start our sun and planets?

How far apart do scientists estimate was/were the dying star(s) that supplied the elements that comprise our sun, planet, and us? With stars so far apart and expansion of space (as I understand it) ...
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1answer
567 views

Minimum number of atoms in star

I am trying to follow a derivation on this site to derive the minimum number of (hydrogen) atoms I need so that the gravitational force dominates over internal electrostatic forces. The derivation ...
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2answers
243 views

How can Y-dwarf stars have such a low temperature?

A recent article from NASA said they found some stars with temperatures "as cool as the human body." How is this possible? Does fusion still occur in these stars?
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3answers
1k views

How much energy does a super nova generate?

For a scene in a SciFi book, I want to know: Is it possible to estimate how much energy per m² an object would receive that hides behind an in-system planet when the sun goes nova?
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1answer
79 views

What interpretive difference is there between defining a function with or without a differential as a postfactor?

I have thought about this and looked for answers for a long time now, but I do not have any name or label for this problem, which is the reason for the long title of this question. I have come across ...
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2answers
125 views

What are some molecules stable in outer space that are unstable under terrestrial conditions?

What are some molecules stable in outer space that are unstable under terrestrial conditions? So there are many molecules that violently react on Earth because they're too charged, have unfilled ...
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185 views

Finding shortest possible rotation period

How is it possible to find the shortest possible rotation period of a pulsar from a mass and a radius?
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6answers
518 views

Are there free data available online from cosmology (or astrophysics) experiments that anyone can analyse?

One can understand a subject better in physics by trying to solve as many problems as one can from a textbook say. When it comes to experimental physics and data analysis, no book on experimental ...
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1answer
233 views

How do the day/night temperature variations of moons compare to those of their planets?

Does the planet's eclipse have a significant impact on the flux of light hitting the moon? Does tidal locking have any effect on the day-night difference of the planet?
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Anti-Matter Black Holes

Assuming for a second that there were a pocket of anti matter somewhere sufficiently large to form all the type of object we can see forming from normal matter - then one of these objects would be a ...
3
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1answer
46 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
37 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
12k 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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3answers
20k 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
145 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
278 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 ...
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1answer
916 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 ...
2
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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 ...
2
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2answers
530 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 ...
4
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1answer
57 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
759 views

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

What is "Strong Force" & "Weak Force" in Astronomy terms?
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2answers
11k 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
123 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
406 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 ...
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1answer
45 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 ...
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3answers
76 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 ...
13
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1answer
4k 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 ...
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4answers
1k 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
1k 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 ...
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4answers
5k 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
2k 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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608 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
257 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
36 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
354 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
229 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 ...
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1answer
175 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
1k 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 ...
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2answers
514 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 ...
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3answers
219 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
62 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
144 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
950 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
60 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 ...