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 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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1answer
176 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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0answers
63 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 ...
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1answer
67 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 ...
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1answer
735 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 ...
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1answer
2k 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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1answer
145 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, ...
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1answer
322 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
280 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
139 views

Half-massive sphere in space [closed]

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 ...
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5answers
1k views

Two orbiting planets in perpendicular planes

Inspired by this question. Can a 3 body problem, starting with two planets orbiting a larger one (so massive it may be taken to stand still) in perpendicular planes, be stable? Is there known an ...
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3answers
154 views

Ability to detect pulsars

Am I correct it remembering that unless a pulsars beams plane faces earth we can not detect them. And that similarly inbetween the pulses we can't see them either? If so how does this differ from ...
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3answers
294 views

Expansion of space and gravity

In my previous question I asked how gravity can be represented as dents in space. It seems that it's a metaphor. But I wondered with spac expanding does the effect of gravity get bigger as well, I ...
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4answers
852 views

Where's earths death bulge, destroying everything in it's path?

I was watching a BBC documentary on space last night. It was talking about gravity, and it said that the reason we only ever see one side of the moon, is because the earths gravity is strong enough ...
3
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1answer
645 views

Hydrostatic equilibrium of a star - simplification math error

I am trying to do this question and getting stuck at interpreting what the question is asking for. $$dP/dR = -g(R)\rho(R) = -[GM(<R)/R^2]\rho(R).$$ Thus when we descend a distance $\Delta R$ ...
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3answers
762 views

Evidence for black hole event horizons

I know that there's a lot of evidence for extremely compact bodies. But is there any observation from which we can infer the existence of an actual horizon? Even if we are able to someday resolve ...
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1answer
574 views

History of Man Acquired knowledge of solar system [closed]

I know the basics of solar system like how earth moves around sun, and that we have so many planets, elliptical orbit of earth, and how far is sun from earth etc etc. I want to take a step back and ...
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1answer
3k views

Star Surface Temperature Vs. Mass

I am hoping that someone can clarify this for me. With these equations. (Boltzmann Law) and radius of Radius of star how does surface temp scale with mass $R _x \approx R_\bigodot ...
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2answers
360 views

is the sun itself moving

I just thought of an interesting question.Is the sun actually moving? I have learnt that the way the lunar landers and the space ships of the Mercury and Apallo missions moved and controlled their ...
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1answer
463 views

Does the long axis of Earth's orbit precess? Does it nutate?

Get up off the plane of the ecliptic by a couple of million miles. Look back at the Sun and watch the Earth's orbit in time-lapse for a few centuries. The orbit is an ellipse tilted at 23.5 degrees ...
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2answers
145 views

Star trace in the sky

If the space of universe is expanding at fast rates..(even faster than light) Why we do not see the trace of the stars? A possible answer could be that the stars are only moving away but mantaining ...
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2answers
364 views

What happens to internal energy in high-density materials?

Normal-density materials have internal energy, which is the sum of the average energies associated to each of the degrees of freedom. Degrees of freedom can be described as vibrational, translational, ...
4
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1answer
209 views

Gamma Ray Bubble at the center of our galaxy seen by Fermi Telescope

How could we measure high energy photons, whithout measuring them ? I can't understand how we can "see" those Gamma Ray Bubbles if they are not reaching here In this graph from Nasa you can see ...
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2answers
272 views

What is a magnetised neutron star?

I heard the term the other day, but it seems strange to me. My understanding is that neutron stars are made up of neutrons; and neutrons (having no charge) shouldn't be magnetised.
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1answer
145 views

What are wimpy particles?

Can anyone give a brief overview of what a wimpy particle is?
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3answers
589 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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1answer
1k views

If Betelgeuse were to go supernova

If Betelgeuse were to go supernova would the sky be twice as bright, or day time extended, depending on what time of year it happened in. Basically when it does supernova how bright and large will it ...
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1answer
381 views

neutrinos by formation of “neutron pairs”

Here : http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20084-neutron-star-seen-forming-exotic-new-state-of-matter.html are news on superfluidity in a neutron star. The necessary bosons they say are pairs of ...
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3answers
570 views

Space as “flat” plane

I was watching the documentary Carl Sagan did about gravity (I believe it's quite old though) and wondered about space being "flat" and that mass creates dents in this plane as shown at about 3 ...
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3answers
778 views

Black holes in a head-on collision

Assume two uncharged non-rotating black holes traveling straight at each other with no outside forces acting on the system. What is thought to happen to the kinetic energy of these two masses when ...
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1answer
922 views

How to determine velocity and mass of asteroid 2011 CQ1

As you may have seen, a small asteroid had a near miss with the earth a few days ago. As a physics teacher teaching momentum, I think this could be an excellent problem for my students, however, I ...
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2answers
264 views

What about the neutron stars with CMB temperature as dark matter?

Inspired by How do we know that dark matter is dark? and What is the temperature of the surface and core of a neutron star formed 12 billion years ago now equal to?
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4answers
337 views

Cosmic background radiation

Where/what is emitting cosmic background radiation, and when did it come into existance, was immediately after the big bang? I know that the universe isn't 3D in the traditional sense, and I don't ...
2
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2answers
555 views

Speed of sound in astrophysics

Why is the speed of sound given so much importance in Astrophysics? For example in gas outflow (and accretion) problems, we often calculate the sonic point (the point at which the outflow speed ...
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1answer
405 views

Given temperature, composition, column density, and radial velocity, can I find the bulk flow of a gas cloud?

We've got a hot star in the middle of a gas cloud. We point a spectrometer at the star, calculating the following attributes of our line of sight at the star through the cloud: Total number of ...
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1answer
2k views

Why do galaxies and water going down a plug hole spin?

We all experience things spinning, whether it's water down a drain, the earth on its axis, planets round the sun, or stars in a galaxy - even electrons round an atom. But why is spin so common in ...
2
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2answers
507 views

The source of the light we see from the Sun

Is it true that the visible light we see from the Sun comes from the electron-electron shell changes from the element iron as they absorb and emit energy in the form of photons. This energy derived ...
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5answers
731 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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1answer
456 views

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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4answers
168 views
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523 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?)
3
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1answer
478 views

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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1answer
1k views

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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3answers
331 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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1answer
201 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 ...
2
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1answer
131 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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1answer
128 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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1answer
431 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 ...
2
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3answers
359 views

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 ...
11
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1answer
388 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?