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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If neutrinos travel faster than light, how much lead time would we have over detecting supernovas?

In light of the recent story that neutrinos travel faster than photons, I realize the news about this is sensationalistic and many tests still remain, but let's ASSUME neutrinos are eventually proven ...
10
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0answers
60 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 ...
8
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3answers
245 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 ...
8
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1answer
146 views

Where do the bipolar jets of black holes come from?

How are they formed? And why are they so bright?
8
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3answers
144 views

What's dark matter and who discovered it?

I have heard about dark matter that's called the Master Of The Universe. What's this and is the dark matter the reason galaxies exist?
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1answer
52 views

No tremendous neutrino-flux for SNIa?

Why do neutrino account for 99% of the energy release for a SN II, while it is not expected to be the case for SN Ia? Is it because the densities are not high enough to induce inverse beta-decay? ...
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3answers
2k views

Why can't Iron fusion occur in stars?

It is said that iron fusion is endothermic and star can't sustain this kind of fusion (not until it goes supernova). However star is constantly releasing energy from fusion of elements like Hydrogen ...
3
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1answer
232 views

Why do galaxies “disappear?”

So, this bit of information confused me lately. Before, I figured galaxies were no longer visible by us because their luminosity decreased in an inverse square manner. However, while watching a movie ...
3
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1answer
189 views

How do the “tidal forces warming moons” theories hold when apart from heating from expansion, there may be also cooling from contraction?

I can understand a temporary heating, from the tital forces exerted on the moon but wouldn't there be cooling as well eventually when particles "give in" to contraction? Wouldn't they eventually net a ...
3
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2answers
125 views

Cosmic radiation cutoff at LOW energies?

The energy spectrum of the cosmic radiation (not CMB) is limited to both sides. I know about the GZK-cutoff at high energies. Basically the interaction probability for photons of energies above 10^20 ...
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1answer
8k views

Negative and positive energy and Hawking [closed]

I don't have any physics background (except the material we did in high school-long time ago). I was watching a documentary with Stephen Hawking about whether God created the Universe and I could not ...
40
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9answers
6k views

How would night sky look like if the speed of light was infinite?

Would it be brighter? Different color? Gravitational lensing? Would black holes exist?
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4answers
5k views

Do solar systems typically spin in the same direction as their galaxy?

Is the net angular momentum vector of our solar system pointing in roughly the same direction as the Milky Way galaxy's net angular momentum vector? If yes or no, is that common for most stars in the ...
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8answers
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Why is absolute zero considered to be asymptotical? Wouldn't regions such as massive gaps between galaxy clusters have temperatures of absolute zero?

Why is absolute zero considered to be asymptotical? Wouldn't regions such as massive gaps between galaxy clusters have temperatures of absolute zero? I just do not see why our model must work the way ...
8
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1answer
303 views

$\Delta^+$ decay in GZK process

The dominant channels in the GZK process are $$p+\gamma_{\rm CMB}\to\Delta^+\to p+\pi^0,$$ $$p+\gamma_{\rm CMB}\to\Delta^+\to n+\pi^+.$$ According to the pdg, $\Delta\to N+\pi$ makes up essentially ...
26
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4answers
2k views

Are neutrino stars theoretically possible?

Since neutrinos have a small mass and are affected by gravity, wouldn't it be theoretically possible to have such a large quantity of them so close to each other, that they would form a kind of a ...
15
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1answer
264 views

Metal-rich star formation

While discussing star formation on cosmological scales with some classmates, we mentioned the breakdown between the different stellar populations via metallicity: Population III: $Z = [{\rm Fe/H}] ...
12
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2answers
3k views

Are we living in a false vacuum? Is there any way to tell?

I was thinking of the noted 1980 paper by Sidney Coleman and Frank de Luccia--"Gravitational effects of and on vacuum decay"-- about metastable vacuum states that could tunnel to a lower energy "true ...
28
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4answers
5k views

Why are stars white?

That is may be a easy question, but I am not a professional. The sun is a star and when I look at the sun is usually yellow. Why stars in the night are white? I suppose is for the distance. What is ...
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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 ...
11
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1answer
598 views

Thermodynamically possible to hide a Dyson sphere?

You build a Dyson sphere around a star to capture all its energy. The outer surface of the Dyson sphere still radiates heat at much higher temperature than the cold space background, so you're easy to ...
10
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2answers
416 views

Does the Milky Way have dark matter satellite galaxies?

This recent paper by Weinberg et al. discusses that one potential problem with our current model of Cold Dark Matter (CDM) is that is predicts a greater number of satellite galaxies for the Milky Way ...
17
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10answers
309 views

In astronomy what phenomena have theory predicted before observations?

As far as I know, astronomy is generally an observational science. We see something and then try to explain why it is happening. The one exception that I know of is black holes: first it was thought ...
12
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1answer
419 views

Introduction to neutron star physics

I enjoy thinking about theoretical astrophysics because I want to understand black holes. Given that no one understands black holes, I like to ponder the nearest thing to a black hole: a neutron star! ...
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2answers
1k views

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 ...
5
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6answers
521 views

Are there free data available online from cosmology (or astrophysics) experiments that anyone can analyse?

One can understand a subject better in physics by trying to solve as many problems as one can from a textbook say. When it comes to experimental physics and data analysis, no book on experimental ...
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1answer
6k 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 ...
17
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1answer
437 views

Where do high-energy neutrinos come from?

Last week the IceCube South Pole Neutrino Observatory published a press release reporting the possible discovery of two neutrinos with energies of over 1 PeV. Would anyone here be willing to help me ...
10
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1answer
1k views

What happens to Protons and Electrons when a Neutron star forms?

What happens to Protons and Electrons when a Neutron star forms? At some point gravity overcomes the Pauli Exclusion Principle ( I assume) and they are all forced together. What happens in the ...
8
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1answer
672 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 ...
8
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3answers
567 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 ...
8
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2answers
568 views

What are the demographics of stars visible to the naked eye?

Of the stars that can be seen with the naked eye, what are the distributions of each type? For example, how many are main sequence? how many are Super Red giants/white dwarfs/neutron stars...etc. ...
6
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1answer
183 views

Experimental Data for Mass Distribution of a Galaxy

My goal here is not to discuss dark matter in general. I know there are many other observational clues that hint us towards Dark matter. My goal is simply to understand this argument here a little ...
5
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3answers
115 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 ...
5
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1answer
162 views

Has the number of new stars born decreased over time?

Has the number of new stars being formed decreased at all over the age of the universe? Would this be because the average density of the universe is decreasing due to the expansion of the universe, it ...
4
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1answer
205 views

What would happen to the universe if dark energy started “disappearing”?

Terribly naive question, I know. Obviously, not simply "disappearing", but if it could, theoretically, be absorbed or "used" somehow, what would happen to the universe? Would it stop expanding, would ...
4
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2answers
414 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, ...
3
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1answer
188 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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2answers
3k 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) $S = 1367\frac{W}{m^2}$ ...
2
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3answers
641 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?
2
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4answers
841 views

What happens during gravitational collapse to cause the formation of a star?

I know that stars are formed from dense regions in large gas clouds. I know that when gravity causes the mass of the clump to get so big that its internal pressure can't sustain it, it collapses and ...
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1answer
172 views

Metric inside a sphere of uniform density?

Is an exact solution to Einstein's Field Equations known for the interior of a sphere of uniform density (to approximate a star or planet, for example?)
11
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2answers
1k views

Storing a Planet-sized Chunk of Metal Inside a Star

Would it be physically possible to "store" a planet-size or larger sum of metal, say gold or platinum, inside a star by letting it fall to the core? Would it be possible to detect which stars had ...
9
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1answer
548 views

Do supernovae produce an appreciable amount of lithium?

David Z's answer to this question got me wondering - is any appreciable amount of lithium produced as the result of a supernova explosion, either by fusion (which seems unlikely to me, but I don't ...
8
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2answers
1k views

Do we know what event caused the Sun and Solar System to form?

Some stellar formation theories suggest that stars are formed by shock waves from trigger events such as supernovae. This excerpt from Star Formation basically gives the background to my question: ...
8
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1answer
296 views

The Solar System explosion in the Nice model

This video depicts one variant of the Nice model (pronounced "neese", like the city in France). I'll briefly describe it in case the link ever dies. Here is the initial configuration: The four ...
7
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1answer
293 views

How would nucleosynthesis be different if the neutron were stable?

If the strong nuclear force were just 2% stronger, the neutron would be a stable particle instead of having a half life of about 13 minutes. What difference would that have made to Big Bang ...
6
votes
2answers
725 views

How is a blackbody spectrum formed in the Sun?

Sunlight can be treated as BB radiation. Why is it a continuous spectrum while the sun contains only a few elements and the radiation from the jumps between atomic levels are discrete? How does the ...
6
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2answers
2k views

What is the luminosity of the Milky Way galaxy?

The luminosity of the Milky Way galaxy according to this is $5\times10^{36}$ Watts, but this number suggests that there are about 10 billion stars with Solar luminosities in the Milky Way, which ...
6
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1answer
216 views

Upper Mass Limit of Quark Stars

While there is no confirmation that quark stars exist, is there any theoretical limit analogous to (but different from) the Tolman–Oppenheimer–Volkoff limit for neutron stars? In other words, what is ...