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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How much of an asteroid mass can be in platinum or rare metals?

There are many articles about the 2011 UW-158 asteroid which will pass earth tonight. The interesting thing about this asteroid is that it is said to contain $5.4 trillion worth of platinum. Many ...
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Geometry of magnetic field lines in plasmas/MHD

So I'm trying to gain an intuitive grasp of plasmas and magnetohydrodynamics. There's a couple of questions I have. What does it means magnetic field lines are frozen into "plasmas"? Is it that ...
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25 views

Using gravity assitance or turn to return back a spacecraft

I wonder why gravity assist is not also used to return missions back to Earth? I assume the space shuttle is too expensive with its accessories and could be a money and time saving to reuse it, ...
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Did the Sun form around a solid core?

When Jupiter formed I assume like the other planets it started as tiny clumps of matter that eventually came together, became gravitationally bound and then eventually captured a lot of gas. I've also ...
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29 views

Is there any evidence from observational cosmology to say Dark Energy dominated era begins 5 billion years ago

People say that Dark Energy Dominated era begin 5 billion years ago. Do we have evidence for that from observations
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Synchrotron radiation derivation

In the derivation of synchrotron radiation in a standard text (J.D. Jackson/Rybicki & Lightman), we do it by taking instantaneous circular motion of the electron, because the power emitted by ...
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599 views

Pure hydrogen star

What is the smallest mass of pure hydrogen that can ignite fusion? That is can population III stars have tiny masses? How would such stars develop? How long would such a star last?
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How can a black hole produce sound?

I was reading this article from NASA -- it's NASA -- and literally found myself perplexed. The article describes the discovery that black holes emit a "note" that has physical ramifications on the ...
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When did the first carbon nucleus in the Universe come into existence?

I am a chemist with a passion for astrophysics and particle physics, and one of the most marvellous things I have learned in my life is the process of stellar nucleosynthesis. It saddens me how my ...
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Why are stars, planets and larger moons (approximately) spherical in shape (like, the Sun, the Moon, the Earth, and other planets)?

Why are stars, planets and larger moons (approximately) spherical in shape (like, the Sun, the Moon, the Earth, and other planets)?
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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) $S = 1367\frac{W}{m^2}$ ...
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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 ...
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Age of the Earth and the star that preceded the Sun

One of the great unheralded advances made in the history of science was the ability to determine the age of Earth based on the decay of isotopic uranium. Based on the apparent abundance of uranium in ...
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What's the cause of this gap in this simulation of the Nice model?

A previous question brought me to this video (which has a spectacular change at about 0:34). It shows the orbits of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and what appear to be trans-Neptunian objects. ...
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199 views

Are the electrons at the centre of the Sun degenerate or not?

Trying to find an answer to this question, I came across two different methods of determining whether electrons at the center of the sun are degenerate or not. The first method, used here, calculates ...
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1answer
41 views

Difference between Enzo & Gadget astronomy simulation codes

Enzo and Gadget are simulation codes used in astronomy. What are the largest differences between them both in terms of physics they simulate and in their implementations?
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Can the Sun's core be treated as an ideal gas?

I know that a gas behaves more like an ideal gas at higher temperature, and that is very well achieved in the Sun's core. But also low pressure is needed for a gas to behave like an ideal gas, and the ...
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1answer
37 views

Sol Lagrange points

Where are the Sol-Sagittarius A* Lagrange points, what is located there, have we ever focused a telescope to look? And the larger question, could the existence of these points offer some explanation ...
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1answer
78 views

Boltzmann equation (Number density)

I'm trying to understand the Boltzmann equations use in the early Universe. The derivation is somewhat tedious, but in the end I end up with: $$a^{-3}\frac{d}{dt}\left(n_1a^3\right) = ...
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1answer
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Why do elements on the Binding Energy per Nuclear Molecule after Iron (most stable) even form?

So I was reading about the stability of elements based on Nuclear Binding Energy, and I saw that the 'Iron group' of elements were most tightly bound and hence most stable, and that is why the graph ...
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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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1answer
31 views

Galaxy bias and baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO)

I have a doubt with the concept of galaxy bias and how it affects baryon acoustic oscillations, it is supposed to mean that by measuring the distribution of galaxies we are not measuring the actual ...
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2answers
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What's the point of looking at distances beyond $13,7$ billion light years?

Question: Provided that the age of the universe is $13.7$ billion years, but the actual radius is $48$ billion ly, what are we really going to see if we built a telescope powerful enough to reach ...
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102 views

Did dark matter cause the formation of the Solar System?

This question is related to my previous question on Solar System Formation and is a pure thought experiment, with as few as possible assumptions made. From my previous question, I learned that stars ...
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Free neutrons in the sun's core?

In the standard description of proton-proton fusion, the first step of the interaction proceeds through the unbound diproton $\rm^2He$: $$ \begin{aligned} \rm p + p &\to \rm {}^2He^* \\ \rm ^2He^* ...
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56 views

Is a matter anti-matter collision comparable to Gamma Ray Burst (GRB) energy output?

Is a matter anti-matter collision (please assume two cosmological objects, neutron star sized say), the largest energy release method known? Would it be comparable in order of magnitude to gamma ray ...
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539 views

What is the future of gravitional lensing? [closed]

What do physicists expect to find or accomplish with gravitational lensing in the next 15 years? Is there a specific type of object, or a concept that they are looking for?
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Entropy of the Sun

Is it possible to measure or calculate the total entropy of the Sun? Assuming it changes over time, what are its current first and second derivatives w.r.t. time? What is our prediction on its ...
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1answer
72 views

Calculating the Surface Temperature of the Sun with a Metallic Strip from the Surface of Earth

I am trying to calculate the surface temperature of the sun with a copper strip. I have a temperature sensor to calculate the temperature of the strip and that's it. Assuming the rate at which energy ...
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1answer
49 views

What is the dimensionless central potential in a King Model?

King Models are commonly used to model stellar clusters. I understand that they are described by a surface brightness profile $$ \Sigma (r) = \frac{\Sigma (0)}{(1+r/r_0)^2} $$ as described here. In ...
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94 views

What is the heaviest stable element in the center of the sun due to Photodisintegration?

Source that got me curious (page 5): http://astro1.physics.utoledo.edu/~megeath/ph6820/lecture27_ph6820.pdf High energy photons can cause larger, less stable elements to undergo fission. Uranium ...
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1answer
59 views

Do Massive Twin Quasar Jets Condense into separate Spiral Galaxies?

I was looking at a quasar, radio image of “Cygnus A”. Do the massive twin quasar jets condense into two separate galaxies? Do the average twin quasar jet emissions, plasma, condense, turn into ...
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442 views

Neutron stars and black holes

The official limits for a neutron star is $1.4 - 3.2\;M_\odot$. But I read that the limit depends on the particular structure of a star to estimate which mass it must have. I also read that neutron ...
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1answer
87 views

How do black hole jets form? [duplicate]

A black hole, neutron star or any object that has accumulated an accretion disc, sometimes features opposing jets, positioned perpendicular to the accretion disc. I understand that these jets are ...
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100 views

Mass-to-light ratio and rotation curve from brightness profile

This should probably be basic but I've been looking for days and I can't find how to (I'm probably over complicating, but still). I want to calculate a rotation curve for some spiral galaxies. From ...
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419 views

What is a simple mathematical model of a star?

I had a discussion at work regarding a recent fusion experiment in China that resulted in temperatures five times hotter than the Sun. Someone mentioned that no one can know the temperature of the ...
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689 views

How exactly does a solar flare cause a power line surge?

There are occasional large scale electrical blackouts caused by solar flares. Quebec Solar Flare Blackout My question is: what affects the severity of the problem? It obviously depends on the ...
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2answers
98 views

If planet like Jupiter is massive enough to hold hydrogen with its gravity is it bound to become a star?

I have been reading about Jupiter as of late and reason I am asking is if Jupiter has strong enough gravity to pull hydrogen to itself then it should be only matter of time when it will acquire enough ...
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4answers
564 views

Redshift of light in dark matter

Following Edwin Hubble, it is widely believed that the universe is expanding, which is based on the red-shift of light from distant objects. Can dark matter cause light to be red-shifted and make it ...
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1answer
74 views

Boltzmann equation in cosmology

I have a question about the Boltzmann equation in cosmology. Im trying to understand how this can hold? Where does the logarithmic terms come from? It is explained quite well here ...
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Is the speed of sound almost as high as the speed of light in neutron stars?

Have you ever wondered about the elastic properties of neutron stars? Such stars, being immensely dense, in which neutrons are bound together by the strong nuclear force on top of the strong gravity ...
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Shape of galaxies [duplicate]

i want to know why galaxies are spiral in nature.. let us say there is some sort of intense mass (black hole?) at the centre of our milky way galaxy. the intense gravitaional pull is keeping evey ...
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1answer
47 views

If I observe a planet because of reflected sun-light, how does the radiant flux vary with distance?

I wish to figure out how the flux of the sun's reflected light from a planet varies with distance, so assume an observer is on the sun, looking at a planet, and the light originating from the planet ...
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2answers
58 views

Do the outer gas planets radiate their mass?

We know that the sun experiences angular momentum loss, and radiates a portion of it's mass (though helicity is conserved). Can we say the same about massive Jupiter, or even Saturn, Uranus or ...
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1answer
36 views

Pulsar age determination

In one method to determine the age of a pulsar one assumes the spinning frequency $\nu$ to obey $\nu=-k\cdot\dot{\nu}^n$ where $k$ is some constant and $n$ is the braking index of the pulsar. For the ...
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5answers
549 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 ...
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Would a collision of two black holes emit any electromagnetic radiation?

The video linked in this answer shows how space-time would be distorted during such an event. No doubt such an event would be an extremely strong source of gravitational waves. But would anything be ...
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1answer
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Typical rotation speeds for black holes

I am curious as to how rapidly most black holes are spinning. A refinement of the question could be: how rapidly are typical supermassive black holes spinning? I ask because I have the impression ...
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Why does a supernova explode

This is really bugging me. When you look up some educational text about stars life, this is what you find out: Gravity creates the temperature and pressure to start fusion reactions. The fusion ...
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85 views

Properties of a star made from water? [closed]

What would the properties of a star formed from a sphere a water/ice be? One large (massive) enough to collapse into an ordinary, mostly plasma star. I understand that it would have particularly high ...