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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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
74 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
52 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
66 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 ...
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1answer
150 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 ...
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2answers
94 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) ...
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2answers
53 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? ...
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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
58 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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42 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
57 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
117 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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1answer
89 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
258 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 ...
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1answer
81 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
147 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
99 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
133 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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2answers
104 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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63 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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1answer
65 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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1answer
246 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
133 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
118 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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55 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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22 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
118 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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3answers
153 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
43 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
92 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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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
128 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
159 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
79 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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2answers
7k views

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
88 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
136 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
78 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
225 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
66 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 ...
52
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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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1answer
72 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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4answers
244 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 ...