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 does a star's core not cool when it expands as a red giant?

When a star starts to run out of hydrogen to fuse, it begins to collapse due to gravity until the central core temperature rises to $10^8~\text{K}$ Then due the force generated by the fusion of ...
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1answer
117 views

Equation of State and Neutron star

I'm searching for equation of state books, with references to neutron star and ultra-dense matter.
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2answers
157 views

Radiative transfer equation solution

The solution of the radiative transfer equation for spherical ionized blob : \begin{equation} \frac{dI_{\nu}}{ds} = j_{\nu}-\alpha I_{\nu} \end{equation} and solution is (Ref: ...
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1answer
4k 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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1answer
54 views

Blazars and nuclear physics!

How are studies on blazars related to the field of nuclear physics? Should these not purely belong to Astrophysics? Just inquisitive.
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1answer
117 views

Nuclear fusion and the Sun [closed]

I am working on a science project on the Sun. I have found that in order for nuclear fusion to work, it needs both helium 3 and 4. Why can't nuclear fusion be done with just helium 4? How can we ...
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1answer
1k views

What is the theoretical lower mass limit for a gravitationally stable neutron star?

I ask here intentionally not for the size of the smallest possible observed size of neutron stars, which corresponds approximately to the well-known Chandrasekhar-limit for the upper limit of the ...
2
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2answers
270 views

Why does a star beyond a certain mass limit (Chandrasekhar limit) only become a black hole?

Why does a star beyond a certain mass limit (Chandrasekhar limit) only become a black hole? A star is first made of hydrogen, it undergoes nuclear fussion reaction combining into helium and ...
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1answer
28 views

Interferometry works as a filter

I attended an astronomy seminar the other day and though I did not pick up much as it was on data collection etc, I did take away one sentence: "Interferometry works as a filter" Now I know what ...
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3answers
187 views

Jupiter radiation belt: where >MeV particles comes from?

When I read some discussion about exploration of Jupiter moons, or possibility of life there, a common argument is high dose of radiation in Jupiter's radiation belt (several orders of magnitude ...
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1answer
98 views

Concerning the transtition between matter dominated universe and radiation dominated universe

What caused the transition, and how to we know that this did not warp our calculations for the age of the early universe ?
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3answers
92 views

Can astrophysical events outside the solar system lead to global warming of Earth?

The Sun probably easily dominates in its impact on the atmospheric temperature of Earth. However, for roughly half of each day, each side of Earth faces away from the Sun. Combined, the time spent ...
6
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1answer
172 views

Why is the Oort cloud spherical?

Having read up a bit about the Oort cloud hypothesis, I find I don't quite understand this. Why is the Oort cloud spherical while the rest of the solar system is disk-shaped?
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4answers
203 views

What is the actual energy content of the Sun?

Beside the energy released by nuclear fusion in the core, the Sun is a hot plasma of hydrogen and helium ranging from thousands to million of degrees. So how does that translate into energy ? I have ...
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2answers
380 views

Explanation for negative specific heat capacities in stars?

I've just found out that a negative specific heat capacity is possible. But I have been trying to find an explanation for this with no success. Negative heat capacity would mean that when a system ...
27
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3answers
3k views

When a planet is heated through gravitational pull, where is the energy taken from?

Jupiters moon Io is heated through the gravitational pull of Jupiter, but when Io is heated because of this, where does that energy come from? How does conservation of energy work for this effect, ...
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0answers
79 views

Question on calculating the number density of free electrons in the sun's photosphere

I am writing a paper on the effect H$^-$ (a hydrogen atom with an additional electron) has on the opacity in the sun's photosphere. As such, I need to calculate its abundance. Doing so is ...
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0answers
89 views

What's so special about velocity dispersion relations in astrophysics (M-sigma relation, Tully-Fisher, etc)?

I'm confused. Velocity dispersion of stars is measured by Doppler broadening, and through virial theorem that provides information about enclosed masses of galaxy bulges, galaxies, etc, as explained, ...
8
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3answers
369 views

Why does gravitational collapse occur suddenly in a supernova progenitor?

I was reading the Wikipedia article on Supernovae, and it says that one of the reasons why a supernova occurs is due to sudden gravitational collapse when the core of the star has little fusable ...
2
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1answer
163 views

What prevents a star from collapsing after stellar death?

When the star stops burning because heavier elements like Iron are formed in its core. Then the gas pressure stops and as you know the gas pressure helps keep a star in equilibrium because it provides ...
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2answers
583 views

How do you estimate the mass of a star?

How do we estimate the mass of a single star? I guess we need the luminosity the surface temperature, radius, distance, etc. But we know nothing about the reality, because we can measure the real ...
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0answers
24 views

Calculating distance to a binary as well as star pair in cluster, based on reference star data of related spectral class

The problem at hand consists of calculating the absolute magnitude $M_V$ for a B0V type star, then the distance to a binary system with one star A1V and one B0V type star, and finally a star pair ...
8
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1answer
671 views

Is it expected that all stellar black holes will be spinning near the maximum allowed $\omega$-velocity?

Using a bit of classical reasoning I'm imagining black hole formation to be much like an ice skater pulling in her arms: Now, the size difference between a star and its black hole can't even be ...
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0answers
85 views

Why is metallic hydrogen degenerate matter?

Why is metallic hydrogen considered a form of degenerate matter, akin to neutronium and electron-degenerate matter? I can understand that for the other two, degeneracy pressure is the only force ...
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2answers
6k views

How close can spaceship get to the Sun

If you want to fly a spaceship with human passengers as close to the Sun as possible, then what effects would the spaceship have to be designed to counteract in order to keep the passengers alive and ...
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1answer
256 views

Gravitational binding energy of a white dwarf at Chandrasekhar limit?

I was trying to calculate the gravitational binding energy of a white dwarf just before it went on a type Ia supernova in order to calculate the kinetic energy of the ejecta, but I wasn't able to get ...
12
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1answer
325 views

Near-Earth supernova

There are 51 stars within 17 light years of the Earth (source). If one of these stars was to become a supernova, how would they effect the Earth? I have read the Wikipedia article Near-Earth ...
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1answer
230 views

How would a very nearby supernova shockwave and remnants affect the earth?

I've been reading about supernovae for a while, and I noticed how incredibly fast their shockwave and remnants travel shortly after the explosion. So I thought about how this would affect the earth if ...
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2answers
798 views

How would gravity change on a planet rotating around itself very fast?

Let's take a planet identical to Earth, but with rotation speed multiplied by ten thousand. What would happen with the gravity if it was spinning madly around itself? Would the centrifugal force make ...
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1answer
54 views

The luminosity function

I'm trying to figure this out for the case... Supposedly the average luminosity will be equal to but how :S I know is the number density of galaxies per unit volume and luminosity but that ...
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1answer
58 views

Quasars with differing emission / absorption redshifts

I was reading this (perhaps offbeat) "anti-big-bang" article, http://www.newtonphysics.on.ca/hubble/ and the author comments "a recent catalog of objects having very large redshifts shows that among ...
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2answers
1k views

Storing a Planet-sized Chunk of Metal Inside a Star

Would it be physically possible to "store" a planet-size or larger sum of metal, say gold or platinum, inside a star by letting it fall to the core? Would it be possible to detect which stars had ...
2
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1answer
470 views

How are we sure a star is hot the whole way through?

Just an intuitive feeling that the surface of stars is extremely hot but under the surface all types of different atmospheres could exist and so the motion of energy could move through a star like xyz ...
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1answer
107 views

Solar granulation pictures showing a wonderous spatial resolution

Recently, I came across spectacular pictures of solar granulation like this: (source) The photograph is impressive because it has a resolution of less than 0.1 arc seconds, which corresponds to ...
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1answer
89 views

Thermal gravitational radiation and its detection

To my poor knowledge on the topic, the gravitational waves that are most likely to be detected by LIGO or other experiments do not have thermal spectrum. But I'm not certain. I know that Hawking's ...
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2answers
159 views

What happens to a white dwarf star if it has mass higher than the Chandrashekhar limit? [duplicate]

What will happen if a white dwarf star has mass higher than the Chandrasekhar limit, i.e. 1.4 times the mass of the Sun?
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1answer
138 views

Help with equations for deflecting an asteroid

This is a homework assignment, but not the physics part. I have to write a python script to simulate the size of a warhead required to deflect an asteroid (parameters inputted by user) that is on a ...
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1answer
150 views

Do septuple (7), octuple (8) or nonuple (9) star system exist?

The highest I found so far is Castor, a sextuple star system. And there doesn't seem to be any other sextuple star system within at least 100 light-years...
3
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1answer
471 views

Standard gravitational parameter - different formulas

Why we have two formulas for Standard Gravitational Parameter: $$\mu=GM \ \,{\rm and}\, \mu = rv^2 \ .$$ I don't see any direct connection between the two formulas. How can we derive the second from ...
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1answer
60 views

How can fusion within the sun be possible if there is no such thing as helium-2 (2 protons, no neutrons)

As stated in the question where does the sun(or other star) get the necessary neutron in order to produce the Helium atom? and how does this process occur (explain how the neutron incorporates).
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0answers
86 views

What does kinetic energy at infinity mean in terms of supernovae?

I have noticed that in some paper that the term "kinetic energy at infinity" is used. I understand what potential energy with reference to infinity mean, but what does the term kinetic energy of ...
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5answers
2k views

Why do we deal only with large scale magnetic fields in astrophysics, and not electric fields?

In astrophysics there is a lot going on about strong, large scale magnetic fields: in stars (prominences), magnetic dynamos, compact accretors collimating jets, etc. There's even a special ...
2
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1answer
591 views

How did all of the heavy elements on earth get here?

I have often read that a first generation star went supernova and seeded our solar system. It is well known that stars that go supernova are the source of elements heavier than iron. I guess I am ...
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1answer
66 views

How does velocity relate to energy difference in Compton scattering?

I'm having trouble understanding what my professor is getting at asking in this question. I just visited her office and her explanation minutely helped. I'm hoping to get a bit more clarity on what is ...
4
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2answers
98 views

Is the coldest place in the universe likely to be artificial or natural?

The Boomerang Nebula is often cited as one of the coldest natural places in the universe at 1 K, but that's about 10 orders of magnitude off from what's been created in a lab. Are there theoretical ...
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4answers
8k views

How long does a supernova last?

Just what the title indicates. Is a supernova over instantaneously? Or, does the (for want of a better word) explosion continue for a while? What is/are the order of timescales involved? EDIT: ...
3
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1answer
95 views

Mass loss in Red Giants via dusty-winds and chromosphere activity

I'm reading some literature on mass loss in the RGB/AGB branches and so far I'm getting a lot of information regarding mass loss via dusty-winds/pulsations but almost no explanation of mass loss by ...
11
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4answers
5k views

Why does Venus rotate the opposite direction as other planets?

Given: Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum. Reverse spinning with dense atmosphere (92 times > Earth & CO2 dominant sulphur based). Surface same degree of aging all over. Hypothetical large ...
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9answers
12k views

Can Jupiter be ignited?

Our solar system itself contains two candidate "Earths" One is Jupiter's moon Europa and another is Saturn's moon Titan. Both of them have the problem of having at low temperature as Sun's heat ...
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0answers
46 views

Do the different observed Type Ia supernovae have similar explosion energy?

I have been trying to read about the energetics of observed supernovae for some time. And while the observed core-collapse supernovae have many scientific papers about them trying to estimate the ...