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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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 ...
3
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1answer
79 views

What is the process that causes a collapsing star to bounce back? [duplicate]

Can someone explain the process by where a star collapses and bounces back. I haven't been able to find a good explanation of the bounce. Edit here, I was wondering specifically where the energy of ...
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1answer
33 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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1answer
34 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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0answers
56 views

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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5answers
1k views

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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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?
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1answer
75 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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1answer
290 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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2answers
224 views

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
49 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
59 views

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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1answer
56 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
95 views

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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1answer
189 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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1answer
107 views

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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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: ...
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1answer
542 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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1answer
108 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 ...
3
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1answer
68 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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1answer
108 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
121 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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1answer
70 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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2answers
721 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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1answer
108 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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1answer
85 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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2answers
118 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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1answer
73 views

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
82 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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1answer
128 views

Crab pulsar radiation

Regarding the radiation from the Crab pulsar and nebula, some reading leads me to the following conclusions. The rotation energy of the neutron star is the source of the non-thermal electromagnetic ...
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1answer
110 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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2answers
61 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 ...
2
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1answer
117 views

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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1answer
151 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 ...
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2answers
126 views

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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2answers
110 views

Do inelastic or elastic collisions have any effect on a large bodies movement (like the Earth)

Recently read a question regarding the temperature of the CMB & one of the comments got me thinking... From what I understand, collisions between subatomic particles and objects out in ...
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2answers
293 views

Why more Fe-56 than Ni-62 as fusion product in heavy stars?

Suppose we create an Fe-56 nucleus and an Ni-62 nucleus, each from individual protons and neutrons. In the case of Ni-62, more mass per nucleon is converted to binding energy. Thus we could argue the ...
4
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1answer
290 views

Gamow peak and nuclear reaction rate

It's known that the nuclear reaction rate (inside a Star) can be determined with $$R_{ab}=n_a n_b\left<\sigma v\right> \, \approx \, n_a n_b \Big(\frac{8}{\pi m_e}\Big)^{1/2} ...
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2answers
215 views

What will happen to the Earth when Milky Way and Andromeda merge?

Hypothetically, if our solar system survived into the far future and human was still around, is the merge between 2 galaxies were a disaster for lives on Earth? Were the Sun get thrown away from the ...
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3answers
117 views

Negative density solutions of the Poisson's Equation for polytropic gas (aka Lane-Emden Equation)

Question: What does it mean by when we obtain negative density for specific region in space as a solution of Poisson's equations? I will explain the situation as detailed as possible, so that anyone ...
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1answer
61 views

What are some current models for neutron star core? [closed]

How are neutron star cores described today, do we use models of superfluidity/superconductivity for instance?
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1answer
111 views

Discrepancy problem in lithium?

Why is there a discrepancy between the amount of lithium-7 predicted to be produced in Big Bang nucleosynthesis and the amount observed in very old stars?
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2answers
373 views

Where is all the Dark Matter? Theoretical Question

In my Physics Class we had to look into possible areas where Dark Matter could be "hiding." Such as Black Holes and so on. Dark matter really can be "seen" through its gravitational effects, and we ...
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1answer
115 views

Is it possible that Mercury collided with Earth, thus creating the Moon?

I recently heard a theory that Mercury might have been bigger before a massive collision that shrunk it and sent it on its current orbit. I also heard that a possible explanation for the formation of ...
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0answers
30 views

Accretion disks on neutron star binaries

Why does hydrogen gas from accretion disks not constantly get sucked onto/into a neutron star or into a black hole? I understand that some gets sucked into the black hole and some may come down and ...
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0answers
25 views

Who orbits who? Earth or Sun [duplicate]

We always say that the earth orbits the sun, but how can we prove this? Could we not say that the sun orbits the earth or that the earth orbits Mars?
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0answers
20 views

Primordial galaxies and associated mass of blackholes [duplicate]

How could primordial galaxies or quasars at great redshifts like quasar ULAS J1120+0641 (detected as per when the universe was 700 mill years old) have blackholes at their centers with the mass of 2 ...
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1answer
56 views

Full ionization meaning

I'm confused as to what full ionization mean? I have the mean molecular weight of electrons and ions and I have to calculate the ideal gas pressure for a star. Do I have to add them up as usual or do ...
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1answer
248 views

Are ultracold atoms only created by intelligent life?

Nature has particle accelerators that are far beyond our capacity, but occasionally I hear atomic physicists claim that they are able to make something that has never been formed in any natural ...
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1answer
51 views

What polytropic index should I use for spherical accretion onto a degenerate object?

Take a degenerate object, such as a white dwarf, embedded in a gas cloud. The cloud is small enough such that the size of the object is non-negligible in comparison - that is, the white dwarf takes up ...