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 binary systems (with pulsars)

Are binary systems (in case of stars and other celestial bodies) more favorable than independent existence? I've been going through an article regarding pulsars, where it was stated that 'many pulsars ...
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41 views

Gravitational collapse (artificial). Is it possible? [duplicate]

I am rather a beginner to this field, so please forgive me if this is a very meaningless question. If I were to somehow increase Jupiter's mass by adding more hydrogen to its atmosphere, can I ever ...
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1answer
50 views

What is the relation between Rössler attractor and thin accretion discs (like in the movie Interstellar)?

Is there any relationship between the Rössler attractor and thin accretion disks, like the accretion disk(s) in the movie Interstellar?
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1answer
112 views

Exoplanet Mass-Radius Diagram

I'm currently studying the following diagram: But I'm not entirely sure I understand what's going on. Is it just, that most exoplanets discovered, is pretty much made up of Hydrogen and Helium ? ...
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1answer
110 views

A Theory of Almost Everything? [closed]

Before I present this theory, I ask that you take the time to read this disclaimer. I do not claim to have an excellent knowledge of physics, it is actually rather limited. Therefore, I am not ...
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1answer
67 views

Electron degeneracy and helium flashes in stars

I have a question regarding the above mentioned. When a star have a mass of about 3-8 it does not go through the so-called helium flash phase, but instead just run along as nothing had happened, turn ...
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0answers
15 views

Does the density of matter increase as we approach the big bang? [duplicate]

I am interested in knowing whether it is clear (undisputed) that the density of matter/energy increases as we approach the time of the big bang? Does this follow from the FLRW metric?
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1answer
208 views

Why does orbiting matter form an accretion disk? [duplicate]

Why does matter in orbital motion around a central body tend to form an accretion disk, as opposed to some other configuration like a sphere? I know this has something to do with angular momentum ...
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2answers
90 views

Can we solve most of the cosmological questions using the Illustris universe simulation?

The Illustris project (http://illustris-project.org) attempts to simulate the universe in its most accurate form according to their website. With the simulation, they were able to predict the neutral ...
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1answer
42 views

Planetary nebulae, thermal pulses and mass loss

I'm reading about planetary nebulae and how they are formed, but as is sometimes the case, I've gotten a little confused. So, I have a star, let's say 5 times the mass of the sun. At some point, when ...
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0answers
37 views

Why is the Great Dark Spot so shortliving unlike the Great Red Spot?

The Great Dark Spot is an anti-cyclone in Neptune. But unlike the Great Red Spot of Jupiter which lasts for more than hundred years, the Great Dark Spot exists for only one year or so. Why is it so??
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2answers
146 views

Why are galactic centers always brighter than the edges?

As you can see the image below and other galaxy images, the center is generally much brighter. Why is that? Is there a very big star? A very big gravitational field?
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1answer
105 views

Electron/positron annihilation lines in astrophysics

I have a reasonable understanding of electron/positron annihilation, in that it is a collision between a pair of particles, one matter and one antimatter, that generally produces gamma radiation. ...
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1answer
188 views

Chemical and stellar evolution in stars

I'm having an exam soon where I have to discuss/describe the follow figure: It's the first figure I have to explain, and it was on the same slide as the one below, so I'm thinking they are somewhat ...
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3answers
214 views

Is the magnetic field of a white-dwarf merely residual?

Follow-up to my other question How does Sol's magnetic field continue to exist at such high temperatures? Assuming Sol's magnetic field is generated by convective currents in it's plasma, how is ...
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1answer
306 views

What is the average mass of galaxies according to Hubble Deep and Ultra Deep field observations?

It is very widely known among people interested in astronomy that there are 100-400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy and there are ~ 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe, which is ...
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9answers
5k views

How would night sky look like if the speed of light was infinite?

Would it be brighter? Different color? Gravitational lensing? Would black holes exist?
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1answer
296 views

The mass of universe at the point of the Big Bang

The density of universe at the time of the Big-Bang was infinitely high. Does that mean that the mass was also infinitely high? ( the universe was extremely small at that time)
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4answers
294 views

What is the largest number applicable to the universe? [closed]

That is, what is the largest number one could possibly come across in the physics of the universe? I would assume it might have something to do with the maximum number of combinations of possible ...
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2answers
143 views

How does the Sun's magnetic field continue to exist at such high temperatures?

The temperature at the surface of the Sun is apparently well above 5000 C; I'm assuming the layers beneath the surface may be even hotter. At school, we learned that heating a metal beyond a certain ...
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1answer
220 views

Why do galaxies “disappear?”

So, this bit of information confused me lately. Before, I figured galaxies were no longer visible by us because their luminosity decreased in an inverse square manner. However, while watching a movie ...
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0answers
71 views

Angular momentum in an accretion disk

I need to plot the time evolution of the total angular momentum in an accretion disc. This confuses me because I thought this should be constant, since angular momentum has to be conserved? I'm given ...
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1answer
91 views

How can we be Certain that Dark Matter Exists if we Cannot See it or Directly Detect It? [duplicate]

It seems very certain that dark matter exists and that it makes up 26.8% of the Universe today (along with 68.3% Dark Energy and 4.9% Atoms), but how can this be if we cannot see it or directly detect ...
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3answers
381 views

What does this stellar mass distribution mean?

According to this pie above and for the "Red Dwarfs" part, which of these is correct : 1) 41% of the stellar mass of a galaxy is in stars with masses < $0.25$ $M_{\odot}$ or 2) 41% of the ...
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1answer
58 views

Magnetar field energy density

According to Wikipedia a Magnetar... Earth has a geomagnetic field of 30–60 microteslas, and a neodymium-based, rare-earth magnet has a field of about 1 tesla, with a magnetic energy density ...
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2answers
357 views

Where did the energy released due to gravitational binding energy of the Earth go?

The gravitational binding energy of the Earth is $2×10^{32} J $, so the same amount of energy must have been released during the Earth's history. According to this and this, the current internal ...
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2answers
72 views

Distinguishing Gamma-rays and stars from each other in nebulas

How do you tell the difference between a gamma-ray burst and a star just from a picture of a nebula, in which it cannot flash on and off here and there?
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1answer
80 views

Temperature of the surface of the sun? [closed]

I recently had an exam question that asked for the temperature at the surface of the sun. The question is The equation I believe you have to use is The Q/t is the radiant power produced by the ...
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1answer
39 views

Difference between astronomy and astrophysics [duplicate]

In my university, the department for astronomy and astrophysics are distinct. I want to know what's basically the difference between the two fields?
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1answer
76 views

Where does gravity originate?

Does it emanate strictly from energy dense regions of space? What does that mean? Is it possible to, say, arrange clumps of matter in such a way as to create a virtual gravity well in space where ...
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0answers
23 views

How can comets have sand dunes without atmospheric erosion? [duplicate]

This article here talks about dunes visible on comet 67P: In August, the European Space Agency (ESA) achieved a major success when its Rosetta probe rendezvoused with comet 67P. The spacecraft ...
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1answer
58 views

Why is the rotation curve of a galaxy lower if measured with CO rather than H?

I have a simple question regarding galactic rotation curves. I know they are studied mostly using 21 cm emission of Hydrogen in the outer regions and with CO emissions in the inner regions, but why do ...
3
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2answers
180 views

What is the origin of CMB fluctuations?

I have read somewhere that CMB (cosmic microwave background radiation) fluctuations in temperature are linked to mass distribution fluctuations in the early universe (at ~350000 years after Big Bang, ...
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2answers
2k views

What happens to the neighboring star of a type Ia supernova?

Supernovae of type "Ia" are those without helium present, but with evidence of silicon present in the spectrum. The most accepted theory is that this type of supernova is the result of mass accretion ...
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2answers
1k views

What would happen to a teaspoon of neutron star material if released on Earth?

I've read on NASA's page on neutron star that one teaspoonful of that star would weigh over 20 billion tonnes on Earth. If it was somehow possible to bring it to earth would it: Burn and disappear ...
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2answers
291 views

How much of a galaxy's mass is in stars?

I have been trying to find an answer for this question for a while without a success, so I guess it might not have a specific answer. But to make things easier, let's take the Milky Way galaxy as an ...
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3answers
222 views

Photons straight into black hole

What happens to a photon shot straight into a black hole? Does it gain infinite momentum before it crosses the horizon? If it has a finite momentum going in, then it would seem that a photon of the ...
13
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1answer
443 views

Do celestial objects experience drag from the near vacuum of space/does the near vacuum have a mean velocity?

For instance do the planets around the sun experience drag from the near vacuum of space? Or do the (hydrogen) atoms in interplanetary space have a mean velocity near orbital speeds, such that object ...
3
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1answer
103 views

Could the estimated stellar mass for the Milky Way galaxy include brown dwarfs?

Trying to find an estimate for the stellar mass of the MW galaxy, I found this paper and the estimated stellar mass is $~6.5 \times 10^{10} M_{\odot}$. I was also trying to understand the methods used ...
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1answer
95 views

According to the initial mass function, should there be more brown dwarfs than red dwarfs?

According to the IMF and the stellar mass distribution, stars become more abundant the less massive they are. And while objects must have a mass > 0.075 solar mass to become a star, brown dwarfs with ...
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0answers
102 views

Electric and magnetic field in a black hole

I have many questions about this topic: Does the electric field of a charged black hole look like this? I mean how can it have an electric field if nothing can escape from a black hole, and what is ...
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1answer
1k views

What happens to Protons and Electrons when a Neutron star forms?

What happens to Protons and Electrons when a Neutron star forms? At some point gravity overcomes the Pauli Exclusion Principle ( I assume) and they are all forced together. What happens in the ...
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1answer
310 views

What is the distribution of Population I and II stars in the Milky Way galaxy?

I have been trying to find out the distribution of Population I and II stars in the Milky Way. The distribution I mean is the percentage of each population to the total stars in the galaxy. So in ...
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2answers
1k views

What is the luminosity of the Milky Way galaxy?

The luminosity of the Milky Way galaxy according to this is $5\times10^{36}$ Watts, but this number suggests that there are about 10 billion stars with Solar luminosities in the Milky Way, which ...
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0answers
53 views

Where do ultra-high-energy cosmic rays come from?

Physicists have detected an amazing variety of energetic phenomena in the universe, including beams of particles of unexpectedly high energy but of unknown origin. In laboratory accelerators, we can ...
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2answers
325 views

How much does electromagnetic radiation contribute to dark matter?

EM radiation has a relativistic mass (see for instance, Does a photon exert a gravitational pull?), and therefore exerts a gravitational pull. Intuitively it makes sense to include EM radiation ...
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2answers
94 views

Stellar Activity Cycle versus Metallicity

Our Sun exhibits sunspot max/mins on about a 11 year period. It's a G2 spectral class on the HR Diagram. We know that some stars exhibit "starspot" cycles of various intensities and periods. These ...
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2answers
40 views

How velocity dispersion changes with change of inertial frame

I'm analysing a bunch of simulated galaxies, and one of the properties I'm looking at is their velocity dispersion (which is the same thing as the standard deviation of their speeds as far as I know). ...
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1answer
118 views

Formation of supermassive black holes

Scientists have found very bright source of light which they call quasar and the are found to be supermassive black holes. So these black holes are so massive that they cannot be formed by a ...
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3answers
260 views

How far has a 13.7 billion year old photon travelled

I've read that the size of the observable Universe is thought to be around ~46 billion light years, and that the light we see from the most distant galaxies were emitted ~13.7 billion years ago as a ...