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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Visual representations of black holes

Some black holes emit jets that are rapidly circling the poles of what appears to be a sphere at the center of the black hole, cf. Fig. 1. Is there really a sphere here and how far (relative to the ...
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885 views

When does a planet become a star?

How big can a gas giant become before it's considered a star? How does the theoretical maximum compare the observed maximum?
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495 views

Do all black holes spin in the same direction?

My question is as stated above, do all black holes spin the same direction? To my knowledge, the spin in the direction of the spin of the matter that created them. Another similar question was asked ...
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Cosmological models other than FRW

The FRW is a nice isotropic and symmetric metric but I think its assumptions are too many. I was wondering about alternative models. Specifically are there any prominent alternatives that have more ...
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562 views

Would a submarine float in the atmosphere of Jupiter?

Would a submarine float in the atmosphere of Jupiter, or would it get crushed?
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135 views

How scientists could say that such meteorite comes from Mars

How could scientists affirm that a meteorite comes from Mars and not from another source ? This is a probability or an absolute certainty ? How much percent ?
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Dark age of universe when all fusion process ceases?

Some say we live in the golden age of the universe because there exits countless number of stars that shines in the dark universe. As the supply of gas for star formation is steadily being exhausted, ...
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524 views

Analogy between magnetic bottle and Van Allen's radiation belt

A magnetic bottle is an arrangement that permits to confine charged particles. Here you can find a review for charged particle rotating in a magnetic field and at the bottom of the page a description ...
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Do the stars imaged by a telescope even exist at present?

I know that we now have telescopes which can capture the images of the stars and galaxies millions of light-years away from us. Does the telescope capture the past image of the star, i.e. the light ...
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314 views

Accretion disk physics - Stellar formation

I was going through the Wikipedia page for Accretion disks, and I couldn't comprehend what the meaning of this is: "If matter is to fall inwards it must lose not only gravitational energy but also ...
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642 views

With what probability does nuclear fusion occur at energies far below the Coulomb barrier?

Even at the core of the sun, the temperature of $\sim 10^7$ K only results in $kT\sim1$ keV, which is about a thousand times less than the electrical potential energy of $\sim1$ MeV needed in order to ...
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983 views

What happens when the black hole at a galactic core eats the galaxy?

I'm making several assumptions, not sure if any are correct: there is a black hole at the center of a galaxy the black hole is eating the galaxy Eventually the galaxy will be gone, right? Has ...
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332 views

What is the electric charge has the sun and the corona of the sun?

What is the net electric charge (in magnitude and sign) of the sun and its corona?
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186 views

When the sun's magnetic field reverses, how can “the north pole (have) already (…) reversed, and (we are) waiting for the south pole to catch-up”?

I was reading a popular news account of the sun's upcoming magnetic field reversal at http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2013/0807/Sun-s-magnetic-reversal-means-big-changes-for-the-solar-system-video, ...
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Why does the moon face earth with the same side?

I know that the rotation period of the moon equals its revolution period. It's just so astonishing that these 2 values have such a small difference. I mean, what is the probability of these 2 values ...
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194 views

How fast is the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) changing?

I know that the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) is the leftover radiation from the "surface of last scattering". However, at every instant the surface is changing (at the rate of flow ...
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290 views

Stellar winds from neutron stars

It seems that this question has not really been explored in the literature. Do isolated neutron stars (which do not accrete material) emit stellar wind? If yes, what composition would it have? If yes, ...
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2k views

How dense are nebulae?

How functionaly dense are nebulae? Are they so sparse they are only visible from an interstellar or intergalactic perspective or would you be unable to see your hand in one? Do they vary widely in ...
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924 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 ...
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660 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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222 views

Could dark energy be the effect of gravity at great distances?

This may be a silly question, but is it possible that dark energy and gravity are related to each other? Space-time is deformed everywhere in space by objects with mass. The more massive the object, ...
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517 views

How does one measure Earth's speed of revolution around the sun?

I know that there are several formulae that one can plug numbers into to arrive an estimate of Earth's speed around the sun (Kepler's third law for instance), but I'm wondering how these things are ...
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324 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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131 views

Speed of birth of a star

A star forms when enough material gets close enough. But how fast does the star start to shine? Is it gradually heating up (similar to an oven) slowly shining more and more? Or is it more like an ...
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113 views

What is the difference between baryonic and gravitational mass?

I was reading a webpage on neutron stars, and it mentioned that a neutron star's gravitational mass is about 20% lower than its baryonic mass due to gravitational redshift. I understand the basics of ...
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354 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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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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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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203 views

In Klein-Gordon, why should infinite downwards photon cascades be possible?

Here is a simple point about the standard interpretation of the Klein-Gordon equation that for the life of me I've never been able to understand: Why would the existence of true negative energy ...
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983 views

Why is planet CFBDSIR2149-0403 hot?

According to a BBC report Astronomers have spotted a "rogue planet" - wandering the cosmos without a star to orbit - 100 light-years away. ... The proximity of the new rogue planet has ...
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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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146 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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227 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 ...
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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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Why does each celestial object spin on its own axis?

AFAIK all the celestial objects have a spin motion around its axis. What is the reason for this? If it must rotate by some theory, what decides it's direction and speed of rotation? Is there any ...
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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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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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462 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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112 views

Balmer lines and their positions

I have two stars, both of which have Balmer lines at the same wavelength positions. The depths of the Balmer lines on each star are different, and the stars are different as well. Why does this ...
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407 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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169 views

Is the fuel burn for a satellite launch affected by the position of the moon relative to the launch site?

The gross mass of a satellite rocket is tiny compared to that of Earth, and Luna. Between them, however, the two bodies set up tides in bodies of water which itself is again considerable mass. At ...
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65 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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29 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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201 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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130 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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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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51 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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99 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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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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Why are L4 and L5 lagrangian points stable?

This diagram from wikipedia shows the gravitational potential energy of the sun-earth two body system, and demonstrates clearly the semi-stability of the L1, L2, and L3 lagrangian points. The blue ...