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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Is it possible for a planet to be made entirely of water (even it's core)? [duplicate]

I was thinking about this today... Is it possible for a planet to be made almost entirely of water (H20)? I'm sure that other elements would be in the mix, but I mean almost entirely made of water. ...
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2answers
230 views

What keeps a gas giant from falling in on itself?

There is not enough gravity at the center to start nuclear fusion, but it seems that there would be plenty enough to collapse the planet.
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278 views

Interstellar dust/matter distribution

It is known that one of the main problems of interstellar flight is a presence of matter between stars in form of very fine dust and huge asteroids. Which can slowly (or fast) destroy any ship. What ...
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68 views

Plasma Propulsion system - Maximum Velocity [closed]

What is the maximum velocity that can be achieved using plasma propulsion if we could make a propulsion system as powerful as lightning ?
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3answers
135 views

What can we learn about physics by doing experiments at the end of the heliosphere?

My question is very naive, as I do not know cosmology and astrophysics. I am asking it just for general curiosity. All of us know that Voyager I is now going out of heliosphere, and now sending data ...
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2answers
95 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 ...
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1answer
118 views

Do celestial objects experience drag from the near vacuum of space?

For instance do the planets around the sun experience drag from the near vacuum of space? Or do the (hydrogen) atoms in interplanetary have a mean velocity near orbital speeds? And if so would (small) ...
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1answer
72 views

Why do cosmic bodies revolve? [duplicate]

Why do cosmic bodies such as planets, stars, satellites revolve? What made them to revolve after the formation of universe?
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1answer
567 views

Solving the Tolman–Oppenheimer–Volkoff (TOV) equation

The Pressure of a static spherical object (say star), which has the Schwarzchild metric outside it, satisfies the following differential equation called the TOV equation. ...
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2answers
369 views

How do spiral arms form?

Why aren't all spinning galaxies shaped as discs as my young mind would expect? I understand how the innermost parts of a galaxy spin faster than the outer parts, and that could explain why some ...
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1answer
140 views

What is the physics behind explosion of Stars? [closed]

Looking at the above photo, you will soon find it is impossible to explain what actually happens (with today's physics), in one word star is like a nuclear fusion bomb which its pressure is in ...
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1answer
453 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 ...
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344 views

Map of the gravitational strength of the solar system

I am looking for a map or plot of the gravitational strength in the solar system. In an ideal world there should be something like google earth to move around in the solar system, zoom in and out and ...
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Mass loss in Red Giants via dusty-winds and chromosphere activity

I'm reading some literature on mass loss in the RGB/AGB branches and so far I'm getting a lot of information regarding mass loss via dusty-winds/pulsations but almost no explanation of mass loss by ...
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1answer
64 views

Astronomical measurements and data

For the sub-nuclear physics there is a database of the Particle Data Group, I was wondering if there was a similar on-line collection for astrophysics, such as energy absorption and emission spectra ...
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1answer
27 views

Does the stellar MK classification fix the apparent luminosity?

Introduction Let say we have some stars and their spectral classification in the MK index. (not all HD stars) HD xxxx - B3 HD yyyy - O7 HD zzzz - F0 .... If the stars share the same spectral ...
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2answers
186 views

Neutrinos: how can they carry information about universe?

I know that neutrinos are particles with a very small mass and no electric charge. They infrequently interact with matter and so they can give us information about the "old" universe. But how can they ...
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1answer
258 views

What is the formal definition of spin-independent vs. spin-dependent scattering?

In the search for WIMPs as the dark matter particle, there is an important distinction between spin-independent and spin-dependent scattering. Roughly, WIMPs scattering from nucleons through a ...
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1answer
120 views

Why polar jets emited along axis of rotation?

why streams of energy-matter are emited along the axis of rotation of a compact object? (or) what is the reason that they are emited along the axis of rotation of a compact object?
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70 views

Relation between the period of rotation and the period of revolution of a satellite

I read somewhere that the tidal forces between the earth and the moon causes the equality between the 2 periods of the moon and that every planet-satellite system will evolve to this condition (like ...
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1answer
47 views

Power radiated by a star, black body model

let's say I want to model a star of radius $R$ at a distance $r$ from the Earth. I need to show that the apparent luminosity for frequency $\nu$ is equal to $$\ell(\nu)=\frac{2\pi h}{c^2}\left( ...
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1answer
90 views

Relationships between different measure of opacity

I'm reading some papers that compare different values for a materials opacity to a particular particle. The first is given as $\frac{dE}{dX}$, a single particles energy loss per unit column depth (X ...
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2answers
212 views

How to cut a stone on on a White Dwarf

I've heard that white dwarfs are extremely dense and hard. So, if I had a piece of white dwarf matter, would it be possible to cut it (or otherwise) into a custom shape? How could one do that?
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26 views

laser wave functions excitation state change question

Supposing an Einstein-Bose condensate where electrons are excited to the point of coherent light emiting. Regarding lighwave coherence: * Does the exitation state make the coherence itself ...
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1answer
46 views

Dimensions of a variable celestial body?

I read (extern link to a filehoster, page 163 section 4.8) that a variable celestial object like a pulsar or quasar must be smaller than the distance the light travels in its variation period. Can ...
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1answer
192 views

Do any stars exist apart from galaxies?

Do any stars exist apart from galaxies? Do "maverick" stars exist?
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2answers
128 views

starlight flux on earth

I want to calculate if it is possible to photograph a subject lit only by starlight. I found one website claiming that a starlit scene is lv = -15 (daylight is lv 15, or 2^31 times brighter), but he ...
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1answer
92 views

Astronomical-wavelength radio (AWR) transmissions between cosmic plasmas?

My son asked me if electromagnetic waves longer than radio exist. I told him that even though physics permits such waves, there are no antennas long enough to radiate or detect them. However, on ...
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1answer
55 views

Function for heating of a planet by its star

I'm looking for an algorithmic model which will gives rough estimate of the average temperature of a planet's atmosphere (good enough to say whether there will be liquid water anywhere, or if metals ...
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2answers
74 views

Spread and direction of the cosmic background radiation

Something I can never understand is that where the cosmic background radiation spreads? If I know well, the cosmic background radiation is actually the light of the Big Bang. If it happened exactly ...
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42 views

Hydrostatic equilibrium in a cylindrical area

Consider a cylinder (height $dr$, base area $dA$) with the base of the cylinder at a distance $r$ from the center of the sun. Density = $\rho(r)$ $Volume V = base\ area\ .\ height\ = dr.dA$ (How ...
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54 views

Modeling the formation of a stellar system and matter accretion

I am trying to figure out what do I need to know to properly simulate the creation of a solar system from a particle cloud with random distribution of hydrogen atoms. Being more of a programming ...
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69 views

Solar sail area going to Proxima Centari [closed]

I have a physics question that I need some help with: "Proxima Centauri is a star in the Alpha Centauri solar system, it’s the nearest star to our sun (4.24light−years) ...
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1answer
128 views

Optical depth in astrophysics

How can be the exponential decay of the intensity $I$ via the optical depth $\tau$ be derived? $$I(\tau)=I(0)e^{-\tau} $$
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2answers
425 views

What is our estimated running speed on Moon's surface?

I was wondering if we have the chance to run on the Moon's surface, how would you expect it look like? I expect our velocity will increase for the same work we do on Earth, but not sure if this will ...
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2answers
123 views

What if the antimatter in the center of our galaxy could annihilate and cause a chain reaction?

Being said that the antimatter - matter reaction is faster than that of a fission and fusion, what if the antimatter cloud found at the center of our galaxy could really able to react with matter from ...
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1answer
225 views

How would gravity change on a planet rotating around itself very fast?

Let's take a planet identical to Earth, but with rotation speed multiplied by ten thousand. What would happen with the gravity if it was spinning madly around itself? Would the centrifugal force make ...
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3answers
2k views

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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3answers
530 views

What stabilizes neutorns against beta decay in a neutron star?

Free neutrons are known to undergo beta decay with a half-life of slightly above 10 minutes. Binding with other nucleons stabilizes the neutrons in an atomic nucleus, but only if the fraction of ...
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How is the distance to a $\gamma \mathrm{-ray}$ burst (GRB) measured in just a few days?

Recently the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope recorded the most energetic Gamma Ray burst (GRB 130427A) yet observed with a peak $\gamma \mathrm{-ray}$ energy of $94\, \mathrm{GeV}$. Various sources ...
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2answers
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Neutrinos vs. Photons: Who wins the race across the galaxy?

Inspired by the wording of this answer, a thought occurred to me. If a photon and a neutrino were to race along a significant stretch of our actual galaxy, which would win the race? Now, neutrinos ...
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1answer
336 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 ...
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553 views

What happens when a star undergoes gravitational collapse?

Immediately prior to becoming a supernova the core of some types of stars may suffer gravitational collapse. What happens to any planets in orbit around the star at the instant the mass is fully ...
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3answers
2k views

How long does a supernova last?

Just what the title indicates. Is a supernova over instantaneously? Or, does the (for want of a better word) explosion continue for a while? What is/are the order of timescales involved? EDIT: ...
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1answer
314 views

Has Voyager 1 entered a solar radiation belt?

The Voyager 1 probe was sent out in 1977 to go where no man made object has gone before, after more than 35 years it’s still going strong. It’s now 124 AU away from Earth and many are wondering when ...
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162 views

How do interstellar hydrogen atoms form stars?

I would like to learn the basics about how interstellar matter contracts into stars under the influence of gravity. Some of my questions: Let's assume an ideal and infinite large cloud of equally ...
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2answers
69 views

Has anyone studied a statistical scaling law for the universe? [closed]

How do named objects in the universe scale? Is there a predictable curve for an ordered list, say {atom, animal, planet, solar system, galaxy, etc}? Can you then use the analysis to predict when the ...
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3answers
243 views

We're all star dust?

OK so we've all heard of this from Carl Sagan, Lawrence Krauss and others and we know the argumentation, I don't refute that. There are other examples, for instance I once calculated (this was before ...
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1answer
576 views

How does a star ignite?

I remember reading that X-Rays are generated by 'braking' electrons in a Coolidge tube. Is it fundamentally a matter that the extreme gravity immediately before a star ignites is so strong that it ...
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2answers
156 views

Could a planet sized bubble of breatheable atmostphere exist?

I'm reading a book (Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder) that the main location is a planet called Virga, which contains air, water, and floating chunks of rock, and has no or a very small amount of ...