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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Pulsar gravitational binding energy?

A Newtonian homogeneous density sphere has gravitational binding energy in Joules $U = -(3/5)(GM^2)/r$, G=Newton's constant, M=gravitational mass, r=radius, mks. The fraction of binding energy to ...
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Is there a black hole in the centre of the Milky Way?

Is it true that the whole galaxy is actually revolving, and powered by a black hole? Has it been proven, and if it is true, how can our solar systems actually keep up the momentum to withstand the ...
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How fast a (relatively) small black hole will consume the Earth?

This question appeared quite a time ago and was inspired, of course, by all the fuss around "LHC will destroy the Earth". Consider a small black hole, that is somehow got inside the Earth. Under ...
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4answers
505 views

Is the Fine Stucture constant constant?

I have read that the fine structure constant may well not be a constant. Now, if this were to be true, what would be the effect of a higher or lower value? (and why?)
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Ground-based anti-matter detector on the cheap?

Given today's revelation of the detection of terrestrial gammay-ray flashes (TGF) produced by thunderstorms and the associated pair production of an electron and a positron, how feasible is it to set ...
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Can we measure the “Tilt-A-Whirl” effect of the Earth+Sun orbiting the galactic hub?

You've probably ridden on the fairground ride called the "Tilt-A-Whirl", or--as Disneyland calls it--the "Spinning Teacups", as well as other fairground rides that employ epicycles. You can really ...
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The Galactic Plane

I'm guessing this isn't a great physics question, but I just can't find an answer with Google. If the galactic plane is perfectly horizontal at what angle and rotation will the ecliptic plane of our ...
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What happens if a black hole sucks up a massive amount of oxygen and hydrogen?

Suppose a black hole were to suck up a massive amount of surrounding oxygen and hydrogen. Would this ignite inside the black hole and turn it back into a star?
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The final death of a black hole

What are the different death scenarios for a black hole? I know they can evaporate through Hawking radiation - but is there any other way? What if you just kept shoveling more and more mass and ...
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312 views

Calculating absolute speed of a relative object [closed]

Say you pick a point on the Earth. The earth spins at some constant $x (I don't know how fast, sorry). Now, that point has a different relative speed to a fixed point on Earth's orbit as it revolves ...
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195 views

Astrophysical Data

I am working on a project that requires some amount of number crunching. I require some basic data about the galaxy M82 and our own Milky Way (particularly luminosities). My advisor is a nut and he ...
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165 views

Where can we find information of International Physics/Astrophysics conferences?

Where do you check and put them usually? Let's make a wiki ~
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130 views

How long does it take a object captured by a star falling to the center?

If the captured object do not have tangential velocity, it's just the free-fall time. But when it has, it may take longer time to fall in, right ? The function should be $\ddot{r} = -GM/r^2 + ...
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Why is the mapped universe shaped like an hourglass?

I've watched a video from the American National History Museum entitled The Known Universe. The video shows a continuous animation zooming out from earth to the entire known universe. It claims to ...
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5answers
2k views

Hubble's law and conservation of energy

If all distances are constantly increasing, as Hubble's law say, then lots of potential energies of form ~$\frac{1}{r}$ changes, so how is the total energy of the Universe conserved with Hubble's ...
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2answers
542 views

Experimental observation of matter/antimatter in the universe

Ordinary matter and antimatter have the same physical properties when it comes to, for example, spectroscopy. Hydrogen and antihydrogen atoms produce the same spectroscopy when excited, and adsorb the ...
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127 views

Proposed model for existence of bar in galaxies

What are the current explanations and models for the formation of a central bar in some galaxies, and what is the difference that can produce a barred galaxy instead of a spiral one ?
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6answers
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Why isn't dark matter just matter?

There's more gravitational force in our galaxy (and others) than can be explained by counting stars. So why not lots of dark planetery systems (ie without stars) ? Why must we assume some undiscovered ...
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3answers
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How would I calculate celestial body characteristics without a priori knowledge?

Without any a priori knowledge of the mass, speed, distance, and size of local celestial bodies (aside from Earth's size), what can I calculate and how from my "backyard" through observation? Edit: ...
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560 views

Energy of the electron-muon reaction

Lets see the reaction: $e^- \mu^- \to e^- \pi^- \nu_\mu \;\;\;\;\;\;\;\;\;\;\; {(1)}$ I suppose, that this reaction occurs as follows $e^- \mu^- \to e^- \mu^- \pi^+ \pi^- \to e^- \pi^- \nu_\mu$ Is ...
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9answers
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Can Jupiter be ignited?

Our solar system itself contains two candidate "Earths" One is Jupiter's moon Europa and another is Saturn's moon Titan. Both of them have the problem of having at low temperature as Sun's heat ...
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1answer
372 views

How many atoms per light year does light encounter when traversing interstellar space?

Interstellar space is pretty empty but there a small number of of atoms (mostly hydrogen?) floating around. How many atoms per light year would a photon encounter while traversing interstellar space?
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5answers
676 views

If the size of universe doubled

My question is silly formulated, but I want to know if there is some sensible physical question buried in it: Suppose an exact copy of our universe is made, but where spatial distances and sizes are ...
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How do neutron stars burn? Is it decay or fusion or something else?

What makes a neutron star burn, and what kind of fusion/decay is happening there? What is supposed to happen with a neutron star in the long run? What if it cools, then what do the degenerated matter ...
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402 views

What is the temperature of the surface and core of a neutron star formed 12 billion years ago now equal to?

In what part of the spectrum is it radiating? In the infrared, in the microwave? Or is not radiating anymore at all? In russian: Чему сейчас равна температура поверхности и ядра нейтронной звезды, ...
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3answers
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Why is it thought that normal physics doesn't exist inside the event horizon of a black hole?

A black hole is so dense that a sphere around it called the event horizon has a greater escape velocity than the speed of light, making it black. So why do astronomers think that there is anything ...
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418 views

What would be the real-world implications of the Kessler Syndrome?

I recently read about the Kessler Syndrome and am thinking about writing a story set in a world suffering from it. In the interest of realism, I am curious about the secondary effects which would be ...
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286 views

A force's magnitude

In this question I asked about gravity and in the answers it came up that the magnitude is equal (of the gravity acting on the Sun and the of the gravity acting on the Earth) Does magnitude simply ...
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2answers
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How does one measure the mass of a galaxy? And other such large quantities

Trained as a pure mathematician, I see claims about the mass of a galaxy and other such huge measurements that are arrived at experimentally, and I just have to scratch my head. I know this is a bit ...
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3answers
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Is it possible that all neutron stars are actually pulsars?

I'm assuming that what I've been told is true: We can only detect pulsars if their beams of electromagnetic radiation is directed towards Earth. That pulsars are the same as neutron stars, only that ...