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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3answers
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Why are the jets of the “light saber” star slightly curved?

Why don't the jets of the HH-24 object follow a straight line? In the image below, notice how they bend towards left from the expected straight line. Is it an optical distortion, or some nearby ...
2
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0answers
30 views

Why is CO a good tracer for H2? How are those molecules correlated?

One always reads and hears that CO is a good tracer for H2. How are they correlated? How can you deduce from the (measurable) CO the amount of the (unmeasurable) H2 in the ISM?
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1answer
39 views

What is the gravitational power that neutrinos created in the big bang exert on us?

I was thinking about the big bang, and I remembered that neutrinos not only travel at the speed of light, but they were also created in massive quantities very early in the universe (Hadron epoch). ...
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1answer
52 views

If there were infinite many stars [duplicate]

If there were infinite many stars, is the sky then always full of light so is there than even night?
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1answer
61 views

How do fluids behave in space?

In outer space under absence of any external force (like gravity) can a free liquid develop pressure due to cohesive forces? Will the liquid be in spherical shape and will pressure increase towards ...
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0answers
16 views

Origin of the minimum speed formula for relativistic jets

I am studying superluminal motion in relativistic jets. I understand that the velocity of an emitting part of the jet $v$ can be related to the transverse velocity $v_t$ via $$ \frac{v}{c} = ...
2
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1answer
36 views

Direction of Gamma Ray Bursts

After a black hole consumes a star, why do gamma ray bursts only shoot out perpendicular to the spinning accretion disk? Why do they not shoot out parallel to the disk?
4
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1answer
131 views

Why do astronomers call all elements heavier than helium “metals”?

I understand that a scientific term need not be constrained by its etymology. But is there some significant reason why astronomers choose to call all elements heavier than helium "metals"? Are ...
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1answer
43 views

Eccentric binary black holes

Comparable-mass binary black hole inspirals and mergers are expected to be an important source of gravitational wave signals for current and future ground-based detectors. It is generally expected ...
2
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1answer
35 views

Black hole corona and bipolar outflows

What are black hole coronas? Are they different from accretion disks? If so, how are they formed?
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1answer
684 views

The final parsec “problem”

Many and perhaps all galaxies seem to contain supermassive black holes of about $10^7 M_\odot$ at their centres. Determining their origins is of great astrophysical interest. In what I understand to ...
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1answer
32 views

Regarding the mass of the core of the star

I was reading up about the Chandrashekhar and Oppenheimer Limits when I came across a problem, where the mass of the star could be estimated. My question then is, how can one calculate or estimate the ...
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1answer
55 views

Here's a fun question, what would happen if Venus was thrown off in a highly elliptical orbit? [closed]

I'd like to know what would happen if Venus was flung into a highly eccentric orbit like Sedna (except maybe with its current perihelion) with an orbital period measured in thousands of years by a ...
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2answers
36 views

Relationships between optical depth, $\tau$, and probability of being scattered

The optical depth is given by many as: $$ \tau=n_e\sigma_{cs}L $$ Where $n_e$ is the number density of the medium, $\sigma_{cs}$ is the scattering cross section and L is the linear extent of the ...
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1answer
55 views

Calculating velocity of a spacecraft between moon and earth [closed]

I'm in high school, I'm not very good at physics, and I have this project (year long). I'm trying to determine the accuracy of a simulator (Universe Sandbox 2) with theoretical velocities vs. the data ...
4
votes
1answer
114 views

Why do neutron stars have solid crusts?

A long time ago I read that neutron stars have a solid crusts that are several orders of magnitude harder/stronger than alloys here on the Earth. So how is this possible ? A neutron star has a ...
2
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2answers
68 views

What defines a cold plasma?

Been looking for this very simple answer for a while now, and google returns a face cream with the words cold plasma in it. Very frustrated. Just wondering, what constitutes a cold plasma in the ...
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0answers
16 views

Astrophysics of spirals [duplicate]

What accounts for the structure of spiral galaxies? I would seem that, considering gravity is proportional to distance, outer objects could not be connected in any way to inner objects (ie. a spiral) ...
0
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2answers
47 views

Sound speed vs Speed of sound

Are 'sound speed' and 'speed of sound' the same thing? If not, what is the difference? If they are, could you clarify how the speed of sound applies in the below description of gaseous clouds? ...
38
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2answers
7k views

Why don't galaxies orbit each other?

Planets orbit around stars, satellites orbit around planets, even stars orbit each other. So the question is: Why don't galaxies orbit each other in general, as it's rarely observed? Is it considered ...
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1answer
52 views

Is the fluctuation pattern of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) identical in every location of the universe?

I know that the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) is the leftover radiation from the "surface of last scattering". Let's say an alien civilisation lives on andromeda or further away. Would they see ...
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0answers
27 views

Direct vs indirect detection of dark matter

Background There are two categories of searches for dark matter. Direct Detection via reproducible experiments Indirect detection Detection of e.g. annihilation signal from astrophysical sources ...
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1answer
53 views

What percentage of the energy in a dust cloud must be lost before it can collapse into a star?

With reference to this previous question about how dust clouds can collapse to form stars: How is hydrostatic pressure overcome when a star is formed? The answer given is that they must radiate away ...
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4answers
96 views

What could break up a neutron star?

Beside the obvious answer black hole, is there anything else? Could a nearby supernova blow it away/apart? Or any sort of (theoretically intense enough) field? I guess an electric field is out of the ...
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4answers
2k views

How is hydrostatic pressure overcome when a star is formed?

If stars are formed by the collapse of dust clouds under gravity, how is the pressure of the dust cloud overcome? As more material gathers together, gravity will increase, but pressure will also ...
5
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1answer
811 views

Reason why stars do not produce elements heavier than iron

In his book "Origins", Neil deGrasse Tyson says that "if you seek to split iron nuclei apart, you must them with additional energy. On the other hand, if you combine iron atoms they will also absorb ...
0
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1answer
86 views

What is the bigger number of particles crossing an area: the number of photons or the number of neutrinos? [closed]

Take an squared area with (10²)² m² in front of the sun. What is the bigger number of particles crossing an area: the number of photons or the number of neutrinos? Just for clarification: you can ...
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0answers
122 views

What would happen if all dark matter disappeared?

This is related to this question which provided evidence about dark matter, and this question which asked what would happen if dark energy started disappearing. This question assumes that dark matter ...
2
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1answer
79 views

What evidence is there that infinities exist anywhere around or within a black hole?

I've often seen black holes referred to as having a "singularity", which is described as a point of "infinite density", presumably due to the mass of the black hole occupying a point with zero volume ...
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1answer
100 views

What is the curve that describes the Daytime line in a Day and Night World Map?

A Day and Night World Map shows which parts of the Earth are in daylight and which are in night at a given instant. At one side of the Daytime line they are in daylight and at the other side they are ...
32
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4answers
2k views

Why doesn't the solar wind disrupt the planets?

The sun creates this heliosphere by sending a constant flow of particles and a magnetic field out into space at over 670,000 miles per hour, which is also known as solar wind. If the speed of the wind ...
3
votes
1answer
70 views

What is the difference between a quasar and an Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN)?

In answering another Phys.SE question about quasars - Why no new quasars? - an issue arose about which object is the nearest quasar. That got me puzzled. To what is the label "quasar" attached, as ...
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3answers
67 views

Why is the universe not uniform?

From my understanding, the Big Bang theory says the universe expanded from a state of infinite density and pressure. I feel that if this is true, this should lead to a universe where matter is ...
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0answers
76 views

Does the motion of the particles within the star (radioactivity) create a deeper gravity well than the same size moon (solid rock)? [closed]

Compare two celestial body: a star and a moon. The diameter of a star is 864,948.7 mi. The star is mostly composed of the elements hydrogen (H) and helium (He). By mass the composition of the star is ...
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2answers
63 views

Good books or resources for Stellar Astrophysics at graduate level?

I wanted to know if there is a well established resource in the field of Stellar Astrophysics which is not very outdated. I have seen plenty of books at my university library but I do not know if ...
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0answers
48 views

Bulge-Disk decomposition in galaxies

I'm starting a new project on dark matter astrophysics in which I have to extract from some data (I will write some below) the surface brightness, to later construct the mass density profiles of de ...
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votes
1answer
60 views

It's a Hypothesis about the Beginning of the universe [closed]

Let's take a piece of paper and plot a couple of dots in it. If we shrink the paper infinitely, at some point it would reach a state of infinite density, that is; a Singularity. But even at that ...
9
votes
1answer
232 views

Does matter found at densities of white dwarfs “feel” more like a solid, liquid or gas?

I'm wondering what it would be like to touch or interact with very dense degenerate matter like this found at white dwarfs. I understand that white dwarfs are initially very hot, but for the sake of ...
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3answers
109 views

Why doesn't the volume integral vanish?

I am reading Galactic Dynamics by Binney and Termaine, and I'm struggling with the following passage. According to Poisson's equation the resulting change in potential $\delta\Phi(\mathbf x)$ ...
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2answers
104 views

Will the Sun ever get 100x powerful? If so, when?

I was doing a theoretical research regarding life on Titan. The temperature of Titan is so low, and it needed more sunlight, as a result, the Sun would require to get hotter. My question is, when will ...
2
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0answers
50 views

How much of the Solar convection zone is completely ionized?

I was reading about the energy transportation in stars here, and I found this: "The outer portion of solar mass stars is cool enough that hydrogen is neutral and thus opaque to ultraviolet photons, so ...
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0answers
21 views

What is Colour-Colour-Intensity Diagram?

What are color-color intensity diagrams? These are 3D plots usually used in high energy astrophysics ( particularly in relation to XRBs).
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2answers
96 views

Can less gravity speed up time? [closed]

We know more gravity slows down time per Einsteins Theory of Relativity. However will a significantly less gravitational pull speed up time? Or is "our time" aka earth standard of time the fastest ...
5
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3answers
116 views

How do shock waves form in space?

Today my aerodynamics professor mentioned that the equations we were learning for atmospheric shock waves can also be applied by astrophysicists to study black hole-related shock waves in space. How ...
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1answer
36 views

Earth precession

I got a bit confused while studying the tropical and sidereal years. I noticed that the Earth's precession is in the opposite direction than that of a top's precession, when their rotational direction ...
1
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1answer
71 views

Pluto's internal heat source

When the first images were announced from the New Horizons probe back in July, there was a lot of fanfare about how the surface is young and geologically active, thus requiring an internal heat ...
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1answer
61 views

Speed of light violation?

While reading this article Discovery of the companions of millisecond pulsars, it mentions a pulsar rotating multiple times a second, and I was wondering if this doesn't exceed the speed of light?
3
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1answer
122 views

What will be destroyed? The Moon or the Death Star?

The situation: Suppose Death Star passes by the Earth towards the Moon (near speed of light) and fires its laser (starting from the center of Death Star) against the Moon. If the laser gets to the ...
0
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1answer
149 views

Why are galaxies flat since it's an unstable configuration in 3d? [duplicate]

I'll probably have to delete this question because someone's already asked it, but what accounts for the stable 2-d structure of spiral galaxies in three dimensional space (assuming random starting ...