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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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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82 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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82 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I wanted to know if there is a well established resource in the field of Stellar Astrophysics which is not very outdated.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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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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1answer
64 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 ...
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245 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
127 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
111 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 ...
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54 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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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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111 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 ...
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147 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
40 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 ...
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1answer
91 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
62 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?
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1answer
127 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 ...
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1answer
158 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 ...
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1answer
64 views

Why aren't Roche limit and the difference in gravitational acceleration the same?

The definition of the Roche limit is: "The distance within which a celestial body, held together only by its own gravity, will disintegrate due to a second celestial body's tidal forces exceeding the ...
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39 views

How far inside a white dwarf Roche limit does the Earth have to be to start losing large chunks of rocks?

I have calculated that for a one solar mass white dwarf orbited by the Earth, the Roche limit is about 600,000 kilometers. I understand that any loose mass on the surface of the Earth would start ...
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1answer
76 views

What would a star look like that was the most oblate possible?

This question about why is the Sun so spherical and it's corresponding answer made me wonder: If some younger stars that are rotating faster than the sun are more oblate, then how oblate are they? ...
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Why is the Sun almost perfectly spherical?

Relatively recent measurements indicate that the Sun is nearly the roundest object ever measured. If scaled to the size of a beach ball, it would be so round that the difference between the widest ...
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1answer
86 views

How do you project a Sersic profile into 3D?

I'm attempting to create a velocity profile for the M31. I have a Sersic profile from a paper by Sofue et al (2009), but I'm unable to project it into 3D space in order to get the actual 3D density ...
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2answers
125 views

Do the magnetic moments of neutrons mutually align to produce the magnetic field and emission beams of a pulsar and/or magnetar?

In this graphic of a pulsar the emission beams are at the north and south poles of the neutron star's magnetic field. I've read that the Earth's magnetic field is produced by a dynamo effect, whereby ...
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1answer
49 views

What do you see if you directly observe your destination while in warp? [closed]

Say you are traveling in a warp bubble towards Earth from 10,000 lightyears away with an ETA of 24 hours. On the front of your ship, you mount a high powered telescope pointed directly at Earth (your ...
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1answer
76 views

In what ways does the sun output energy?

I'm curious about the energy output of the sun, and how it breaks down. What fraction is from EM radiation, solar wind, neutrinos, et cetera? How does energy output vary over the EM spectrum? I was ...
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1answer
206 views

How to calculate the radius of a main sequence star based on mass?

What would I need in addition to the mass to figure out the radius of a main sequence star?
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1answer
64 views

How does fusion work in the Sun if neutrons have more mass than protons?

According to my textbook, the next result of the fusion reactions in the Sun is: 4H -> He + neutrinos + gamma photons However, if hydrogen atoms are basically a proton and helium atoms are 2 protons ...
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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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1answer
70 views

Can anyone think of any astronomical phenomenon that could be due to engineering projects of an advanced civilzation? [closed]

It has always seemed to me that there could very well be evidence of advanced civilizations in other parts of the galaxy/universe that are staring us in the face. Within a thousand years, heck, maybe ...
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233 views

Speed distribution of objects in the universe

If we pick a reference frame where, for example, our planet is standing still (although it should be irrelevant), what would the speed distribution of all objects in the universe look like? For the ...
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46 views

What is the definition of the “stellar angular diameter” in stellar astronomy?

(Following the definitions here: http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0509535.pdf ) What is the "stellar angular diameter", as measured by astronomers specializing in stellar astrophysics? Using the ...
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1answer
92 views

Does spaghettification really happen with conditions found close to a black hole?

This website tries to explain why the term spaghettification doesn't actually occur when something gets close to a black hole. The argument of the author is that the equations we use to predict the ...
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0answers
39 views

Misbehaving singular isothermal sphere potential

The singular isothermal sphere (SIS) is a useful simple model often used in astrophysics. It has density profile: $$\rho(r) = \frac{\rho_0 r_0^2}{r^2}$$ This is well known to have some quirks ...
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Do the arms of spiral galaxies differ based on the speed of which the galaxy is rotating?

If I were to take a circle with strings attached to it and spin it, the strings would behave differently based on how fast the circle is rotating. Do galaxies behave the same way?
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1answer
82 views

The Thomson scattering optical depth for a photon ar radius r

I am looking to understand some more about the physics of gamma ray bursts. In particular I am looking at the origin of the "prompt emission". Some of the energy associated with this prompt emission ...
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51 views

Origin of Jet production: Active Galactic Nuclei

According to Netzer's book on Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN), pair production ($\gamma \gamma \leftrightarrow e^+ e^-$) which causes AGN jets presumably happens in "the corona of the central accretion ...
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2answers
114 views

Density of the Sun

Being either on the surface or somewhere inside; where is the density of the gases of the Sun equal to the density of the ground we stand on here on earth?
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2answers
100 views

What causes the death of the Sun?

In a previous question I learned that in each second only a miniscule portion of the total hydrogen in the Sun is converted to helium and that the number is 1/10^18 of its mass converted each second. ...
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Would a rocky planet orbiting so close to a very hot star eventually vaporize?

I was thinking about the physics behind a hypothetical scenario where a planet the size and the mass of the Earth is orbiting so close to a very hot star and what the long-term fate of such a planet ...
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1answer
127 views

Where is the Hydrogen the Sun consumes?

I understand the Sun consumes 600,000,000 tons of Hydrogen each second. Where is this Hydrogen? Is all the Hydrogen the Sun will ever consume inside it or are there vast amounts of Hydrogen in space ...
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1answer
69 views

Will climate change cause the Moon to move away from the Earth at a faster rate?

The Moon is moving away from the Earth at a rate of 38.08 ± 0.04 mm/year. This is caused by the tidal bulges being pushed ahead of the Moon as the Earth rotates and the landmasses interact with the ...
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154 views

Are there more photons than nuclei within the Sun?

Are there more photons than nuclei within the Sun? Is there a good way to estimate what the ratio would be?
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1answer
40 views

Origin of Stellar Nurseries

What is the mechanism thought to cause huge stellar nurseries to form e.g. eagle nebula?
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2answers
56 views

Are there hypothetical processes which allow the existence of a fission powered star?

I know this is impractical given the rarity of heavy fissile elements in the universe (contrary to the abundance of fusion friendly elements like hydrogen), but is there any process via which a ...
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3answers
124 views

Can there be eternal stars?

the question is quite straightforward: Can there be stars that shine forever without ever collapsing nor growing? Do we know some really, really old stars? (whatever age that might be) I hope to ...
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0answers
127 views

Relativistic rotational squeezing?

I would like to consider a sphere rotating at very high angular speeds, such that the speed in its equator would be relativistic. This is very similar to Ehrenfest paradox situation, except that ...
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0answers
45 views

Signal-to-Noise ratio given pixel intensity map [closed]

I have a question regarding calculing the SNR of a signal given the pixel intensities. Say I'm given the pixel intensity values below: $\begin{array}{ |c|c|c| } \hline 3&3&3&3&3 \\ ...
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1answer
25 views

Looking for current review article on the Oort Cloud

I'm sure someone will tell me just to Google, but I'm struggling to find a truly detailed and informative article explicating our current understanding of the Oort Cloud. Could someone please ...
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1answer
83 views

How do inert helium cores in sub giant stars create a pressure force?

I'm reading about the sub giant branch (SGB) and the evolution to the red giant branch (RGB). On the SGB stars have burned all hydrogen into helium, as a result, they have an inert helium core. The ...
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1answer
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Can the lithium test be applied to differentiate brown dwarfs from other substellar objects?

The lithium test is often used to differentiate brown dwarfs from low-mass M-type dwarfs (see e.g. Martin et al. (1994)), because brown dwarfs (at least the lower-mass ones) do not burn lithium, ...