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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

0
votes
0answers
16 views

Expansion rate in matter dominated era [duplicate]

Do physicists know what the expansion rate of the Universe was at the beginning of the matter dominated era?
3
votes
2answers
84 views

Why isn't all of the dust in a nebula used in the formation of a star?

I was watching a show on discovery and according to it, in a nebula the dust and gases slowly come together and as the gravity increases and the pressure rises in the core the gases fuse together and ...
3
votes
1answer
52 views

Is there a scientific term for star formation?

It might be my stupidity to think that many laymen terms that most people use to describe some physics phenomena usually have a scientifically accepted term or name? The process of star formation, ...
27
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
71 views

Why does a photon take less than a week to come out of the convection zone of the sun?

Sun consists of three parts: Radiation zone, Convection zone, Photosphere . When photon is formed at the core, it has high energy equivalent to $\gamma$ ray. When it crosses the radiation zone, it ...
7
votes
2answers
220 views

What causes the dimensions of a star increase when its hydrogen fuel is exhausted?

What causes the dimensions of a star increase when its hydrogen fuel is exhausted? For example, the Sun is expected to increase its radius 250 times. What causes this if its temperature is expected to ...
-1
votes
2answers
588 views

Quantum Mechanics and nuclear fusion

I've been told that, according to QM, when Hydrogen atoms are left together there is a non-zero probability that they spontaneously fuse (I accept this bit). I've been told further that, because of ...
1
vote
0answers
30 views

Does degeneracy affect the adiabatic relation?

The adiabatic relation is $P=K\rho^\gamma$. For ideal monotomic gas $\gamma$ is 5/3. For nonrelativistic degenerate electron(inside white dwarf), $\gamma$ is also 5/3. Is this just an coincidence? ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

Is it possible to increase temperature of sun using radiation of sun itself?

We know that we can focus radiation of sun and can burn a paper. If we think of this thought experiment, will that happen? If someone constructs a concave mirror on the sun and concentrate radiation ...
7
votes
3answers
184 views

What is the origin of spin of celestial objects?

In an older question from June 2011, Why does each celestial object spin on its own axis?, apparently revived by the system, a user is asking about the origin of the rotation of celestial bodies. The ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

Graviational Lensing Data

Can anyone provide me with (or point me to) real life gravitational lensing data that I can plug in to the first equation on this page (the standard lensing equation): ...
14
votes
4answers
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
62 views

Electromagnetism in astrophysics

What is the most important electromagnetic phenomena involved in astrophysics?, I am working in a presentation of magnetars, pulsars and magnetic field of planets and I would like to know if there are ...
2
votes
2answers
216 views

Temperature on the surface of the sun calculated with the Stefan-Boltzmann-rule

In a German Wikipedia page, the following calculation for the temperature on the surface of the Sun is made: $\sigma=5.67*10^{-8}\frac{W}{m^2K^4}$ (Stefan-Boltzmann constant) $S = 1367\frac{W}{m^2}$ ...
1
vote
3answers
650 views

Do all black holes spin in the same direction?

My question is as stated above, do all black holes spin the same direction? To my knowledge, the spin in the direction of the spin of the matter that created them. Another similar question was asked ...
0
votes
1answer
31 views

If matter and antimatter were produced equally during the big bang, where is the rest of the antimatter? [duplicate]

As far as my understanding goes, during the 'Big Bang' equal amounts of matter and antimatter (matter's oppositely charged twin) were produced, and the physical matter that remains within this ...
2
votes
0answers
43 views

Modelling gravitational potential of a galaxy

I am interested in modelling the gravitational potential of a disc-shaped galaxy with radius $R$, i.e. solving the 2D Poisson equation numerically by Gauss-Seidel relaxation: $$\nabla^2 \phi = 4\pi G ...
2
votes
0answers
33 views

Mathematical text for Astrophysics [closed]

Please recommend me some Mathematical text books and a list of Mathematical topics for Astrophysics.
3
votes
3answers
152 views

When a star turns into a red giant what stops its core contracting

I recently asked this question When do stars become red giants? and am now wondering when the star's core is contracting after it has fused $H$ to $He$ what force stops the contraction just before it ...
2
votes
1answer
91 views

What would a normal thermometer read at the Sun's photosphere?

I was reading about the Earth's Thermosphere, and I quote this: "The highly diluted gas in this layer can reach 2,500 °C (4,530 °F) during the day. Even though the temperature is so high, one would ...
13
votes
3answers
307 views

What mechanism is responsible for the creation of these dunes on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko?

What mechanism is responsible for the creation of these dunes on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko? The following high resolution picture from ESA's Rosetta mission shows the dunes: At a distance ...
2
votes
1answer
42 views

Questions regarding the feasibility of “Jupiter”-like fusion reactor

I was reading this post from this website: Turning Jupiter into a star It basically talks about whether fusion can or does happen in the core of Jupiter. I know Jupiter cannot become a star, but I ...
7
votes
3answers
410 views

Why does a star's core not cool when it expands as a red giant?

When a star starts to run out of hydrogen to fuse, it begins to collapse due to gravity until the central core temperature rises to $10^8~\text{K}$ Then due the force generated by the fusion of ...
1
vote
1answer
60 views

Equation of State and Neutron star

I'm searching for equation of state books, with references to neutron star and ultra-dense matter.
0
votes
2answers
151 views

Radiative transfer equation solution

The solution of the radiative transfer equation for spherical ionized blob : \begin{equation} \frac{dI_{\nu}}{ds} = j_{\nu}-\alpha I_{\nu} \end{equation} and solution is (Ref: ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Why does the moon or the earth revolve anti-clockwise?

The question is very simple: Why does the moon or the earth or any another planet revolve anti-clockwise? And can any planet (or satellite) revolve clockwise? What is the physical law for this ...
1
vote
1answer
51 views

Blazars and nuclear physics!

How are studies on blazars related to the field of nuclear physics? Should these not purely belong to Astrophysics? Just inquisitive.
11
votes
5answers
292 views

How does dark matter collapse?: Entropy considerations

Inspired by this question. I believe that the usual explanation that preserves the second law of thermodynamics as an astrophysical gas cloud collapses under gravity is that the gas must heat and ...
4
votes
1answer
96 views

Nuclear fusion and the Sun [closed]

I am working on a science project on the Sun. I have found that in order for nuclear fusion to work, it needs both helium 3 and 4. Why can't nuclear fusion be done with just helium 4? How can we ...
12
votes
1answer
614 views

What is the theoretical lower mass limit for a gravitationally stable neutron star?

I ask here intentionally not for the size of the smallest possible observed size of neutron stars, which corresponds approximately to the well-known Chandrasekhar-limit for the upper limit of the ...
2
votes
2answers
197 views

Why does a star beyond a certain mass limit (Chandrasekhar limit) only become a black hole?

Why does a star beyond a certain mass limit (Chandrasekhar limit) only become a black hole? A star is first made of hydrogen, it undergoes nuclear fussion reaction combining into helium and ...
1
vote
1answer
25 views

Interferometry works as a filter

I attended an astronomy seminar the other day and though I did not pick up much as it was on data collection etc, I did take away one sentence: "Interferometry works as a filter" Now I know what ...
6
votes
3answers
147 views

Jupiter radiation belt: where >MeV particles comes from?

When I read some discussion about exploration of Jupiter moons, or possibility of life there, a common argument is high dose of radiation in Jupiter's radiation belt (several orders of magnitude ...
1
vote
1answer
54 views

Concerning the transtition between matter dominated universe and radiation dominated universe

What caused the transition, and how to we know that this did not warp our calculations for the age of the early universe ?
2
votes
3answers
73 views

Can astrophysical events outside the solar system lead to global warming of Earth?

The Sun probably easily dominates in its impact on the atmospheric temperature of Earth. However, for roughly half of each day, each side of Earth faces away from the Sun. Combined, the time spent ...
6
votes
1answer
98 views

Why is the Oort cloud spherical?

Having read up a bit about the Oort cloud hypothesis, I find I don't quite understand this. Why is the Oort cloud spherical while the rest of the solar system is disk-shaped?
4
votes
4answers
166 views

What is the actual energy content of the Sun?

Beside the energy released by nuclear fusion in the core, the Sun is a hot plasma of hydrogen and helium ranging from thousands to million of degrees. So how does that translate into energy ? I have ...
1
vote
2answers
73 views

Explanation for negative specific heat capacities in stars?

I've just found out that a negative specific heat capacity is possible. But I have been trying to find an explanation for this with no success. Negative heat capacity would mean that when a system ...
27
votes
3answers
3k views

When a planet is heated through gravitational pull, where is the energy taken from?

Jupiters moon Io is heated through the gravitational pull of Jupiter, but when Io is heated because of this, where does that energy come from? How does conservation of energy work for this effect, ...
0
votes
0answers
33 views

Question on calculating the number density of free electrons in the sun's photosphere

I am writing a paper on the effect H$^-$ (a hydrogen atom with an additional electron) has on the opacity in the sun's photosphere. As such, I need to calculate its abundance. Doing so is ...
0
votes
0answers
40 views

What's so special about velocity dispersion relations in astrophysics (M-sigma relation, Tully-Fisher, etc)?

I'm confused. Velocity dispersion of stars is measured by Doppler broadening, and through virial theorem that provides information about enclosed masses of galaxy bulges, galaxies, etc, as explained, ...
8
votes
3answers
247 views

Why does gravitational collapse occur suddenly in a supernova progenitor?

I was reading the Wikipedia article on Supernovae, and it says that one of the reasons why a supernova occurs is due to sudden gravitational collapse when the core of the star has little fusable ...
2
votes
1answer
108 views

What prevents a star from collapsing after stellar death?

When the star stops burning because heavier elements like Iron are formed in its core. Then the gas pressure stops and as you know the gas pressure helps keep a star in equilibrium because it provides ...
9
votes
2answers
434 views

How do you estimate the mass of a star?

How do we estimate the mass of a single star? I guess we need the luminosity the surface temperature, radius, distance, etc. But we know nothing about the reality, because we can measure the real ...
0
votes
0answers
22 views

Calculating distance to a binary as well as star pair in cluster, based on reference star data of related spectral class

The problem at hand consists of calculating the absolute magnitude $M_V$ for a B0V type star, then the distance to a binary system with one star A1V and one B0V type star, and finally a star pair ...
8
votes
1answer
400 views

Is it expected that all stellar black holes will be spinning near the maximum allowed $\omega$-velocity?

Using a bit of classical reasoning I'm imagining black hole formation to be much like an ice skater pulling in her arms: Now, the size difference between a star and its black hole can't even be ...
2
votes
0answers
70 views

Why is metallic hydrogen degenerate matter?

Why is metallic hydrogen considered a form of degenerate matter, akin to neutronium and electron-degenerate matter? I can understand that for the other two, degeneracy pressure is the only force ...
7
votes
6answers
4k views

How close can spaceship get to the Sun

If you want to fly a spaceship with human passengers as close to the Sun as possible, then what effects would the spaceship have to be designed to counteract in order to keep the passengers alive and ...
5
votes
1answer
169 views

Gravitational binding energy of a white dwarf at Chandrasekhar limit?

I was trying to calculate the gravitational binding energy of a white dwarf just before it went on a type Ia supernova in order to calculate the kinetic energy of the ejecta, but I wasn't able to get ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Origin of elements heavier than Iron (Fe)

In all the discussions about how the heavy elements in the universe are forged in the guts of stars and especially during a stars death, I usually hear that once the star begins fusing lighter atoms ...