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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Using gravity assitance or turn to return back a spacecraft

I wonder why gravity assist is not also used to return missions back to Earth? I assume the space shuttle is too expensive with its accessories and could be a money and time saving to reuse it, ...
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Did the Sun form around a solid core?

When Jupiter formed I assume like the other planets it started as tiny clumps of matter that eventually came together, became gravitationally bound and then eventually captured a lot of gas. I've also ...
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Is there any evidence from observational cosmology to say Dark Energy dominated era begins 5 billion years ago

People say that Dark Energy Dominated era begin 5 billion years ago. Do we have evidence for that from observations
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Synchrotron radiation derivation

In the derivation of synchrotron radiation in a standard text (J.D. Jackson/Rybicki & Lightman), we do it by taking instantaneous circular motion of the electron, because the power emitted by ...
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641 views

Pure hydrogen star

What is the smallest mass of pure hydrogen that can ignite fusion? That is can population III stars have tiny masses? How would such stars develop? How long would such a star last?
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How can a black hole produce sound?

I was reading this article from NASA -- it's NASA -- and literally found myself perplexed. The article describes the discovery that black holes emit a "note" that has physical ramifications on the ...
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When did the first carbon nucleus in the Universe come into existence?

I am a chemist with a passion for astrophysics and particle physics, and one of the most marvellous things I have learned in my life is the process of stellar nucleosynthesis. It saddens me how my ...
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Why are stars, planets and larger moons (approximately) spherical in shape (like, the Sun, the Moon, the Earth, and other planets)?

Why are stars, planets and larger moons (approximately) spherical in shape (like, the Sun, the Moon, the Earth, and other planets)?
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Temperature on the surface of the sun calculated with the Stefan-Boltzmann-rule

In a German Wikipedia page, the following calculation for the temperature on the surface of the Sun is made: $\sigma=5.67*10^{-8}\frac{W}{m^2K^4}$ (Stefan-Boltzmann constant) $S = 1367\frac{W}{m^2}$ ...
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Age of the Earth and the star that preceded the Sun

One of the great unheralded advances made in the history of science was the ability to determine the age of Earth based on the decay of isotopic uranium. Based on the apparent abundance of uranium in ...
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What's the cause of this gap in this simulation of the Nice model?

A previous question brought me to this video (which has a spectacular change at about 0:34). It shows the orbits of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and what appear to be trans-Neptunian objects. ...
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Are the electrons at the centre of the Sun degenerate or not?

Trying to find an answer to this question, I came across two different methods of determining whether electrons at the center of the sun are degenerate or not. The first method, used here, calculates ...
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74 views

Difference between Enzo & Gadget astronomy simulation codes

Enzo and Gadget are simulation codes used in astronomy. What are the largest differences between them both in terms of physics they simulate and in their implementations?
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Can the Sun's core be treated as an ideal gas?

I know that a gas behaves more like an ideal gas at higher temperature, and that is very well achieved in the Sun's core. But also low pressure is needed for a gas to behave like an ideal gas, and the ...
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49 views

Sol Lagrange points

Where are the Sol-Sagittarius A* Lagrange points, what is located there, have we ever focused a telescope to look? And the larger question, could the existence of these points offer some explanation ...
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1answer
131 views

Boltzmann equation (Number density)

I'm trying to understand the Boltzmann equations use in the early Universe. The derivation is somewhat tedious, but in the end I end up with: $$a^{-3}\frac{d}{dt}\left(n_1a^3\right) = ...
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Why do elements on the Binding Energy per Nuclear Molecule after Iron (most stable) even form?

So I was reading about the stability of elements based on Nuclear Binding Energy, and I saw that the 'Iron group' of elements were most tightly bound and hence most stable, and that is why the graph ...
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Is there a black hole in the centre of the Milky Way?

Is it true that the whole galaxy is actually revolving, and powered by a black hole? Has it been proven, and if it is true, how can our solar systems actually keep up the momentum to withstand the ...
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56 views

Galaxy bias and baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO)

I have a doubt with the concept of galaxy bias and how it affects baryon acoustic oscillations, it is supposed to mean that by measuring the distribution of galaxies we are not measuring the actual ...
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What's the point of looking at distances beyond $13,7$ billion light years?

Question: Provided that the age of the universe is $13.7$ billion years, but the actual radius is $48$ billion ly, what are we really going to see if we built a telescope powerful enough to reach ...
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189 views

Did dark matter cause the formation of the Solar System?

This question is related to my previous question on Solar System Formation and is a pure thought experiment, with as few as possible assumptions made. From my previous question, I learned that stars ...
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107 views

Free neutrons in the sun's core?

In the standard description of proton-proton fusion, the first step of the interaction proceeds through the unbound diproton $\rm^2He$: $$ \begin{aligned} \rm p + p &\to \rm {}^2He^* \\ \rm ^2He^* ...
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85 views

Is a matter anti-matter collision comparable to Gamma Ray Burst (GRB) energy output?

Is a matter anti-matter collision (please assume two cosmological objects, neutron star sized say), the largest energy release method known? Would it be comparable in order of magnitude to gamma ray ...
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542 views

What is the future of gravitional lensing? [closed]

What do physicists expect to find or accomplish with gravitational lensing in the next 15 years? Is there a specific type of object, or a concept that they are looking for?
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Entropy of the Sun

Is it possible to measure or calculate the total entropy of the Sun? Assuming it changes over time, what are its current first and second derivatives w.r.t. time? What is our prediction on its ...
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108 views

Calculating the Surface Temperature of the Sun with a Metallic Strip from the Surface of Earth

I am trying to calculate the surface temperature of the sun with a copper strip. I have a temperature sensor to calculate the temperature of the strip and that's it. Assuming the rate at which energy ...
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What is the dimensionless central potential in a King Model?

King Models are commonly used to model stellar clusters. I understand that they are described by a surface brightness profile $$ \Sigma (r) = \frac{\Sigma (0)}{(1+r/r_0)^2} $$ as described here. In ...
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What is the heaviest stable element in the center of the sun due to Photodisintegration?

Source that got me curious (page 5): http://astro1.physics.utoledo.edu/~megeath/ph6820/lecture27_ph6820.pdf High energy photons can cause larger, less stable elements to undergo fission. Uranium ...
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70 views

Do Massive Twin Quasar Jets Condense into separate Spiral Galaxies?

I was looking at a quasar, radio image of “Cygnus A”. Do the massive twin quasar jets condense into two separate galaxies? Do the average twin quasar jet emissions, plasma, condense, turn into ...
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121 views

How do black hole jets form? [duplicate]

A black hole, neutron star or any object that has accumulated an accretion disc, sometimes features opposing jets, positioned perpendicular to the accretion disc. I understand that these jets are ...
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2answers
131 views

Mass-to-light ratio and rotation curve from brightness profile

This should probably be basic but I've been looking for days and I can't find how to (I'm probably over complicating, but still). I want to calculate a rotation curve for some spiral galaxies. From ...
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2answers
581 views

What is a simple mathematical model of a star?

I had a discussion at work regarding a recent fusion experiment in China that resulted in temperatures five times hotter than the Sun. Someone mentioned that no one can know the temperature of the ...
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721 views

How exactly does a solar flare cause a power line surge?

There are occasional large scale electrical blackouts caused by solar flares. Quebec Solar Flare Blackout My question is: what affects the severity of the problem? It obviously depends on the ...
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118 views

If planet like Jupiter is massive enough to hold hydrogen with its gravity is it bound to become a star?

I have been reading about Jupiter as of late and reason I am asking is if Jupiter has strong enough gravity to pull hydrogen to itself then it should be only matter of time when it will acquire enough ...
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676 views

Redshift of light in dark matter

Following Edwin Hubble, it is widely believed that the universe is expanding, which is based on the red-shift of light from distant objects. Can dark matter cause light to be red-shifted and make it ...
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108 views

Boltzmann equation in cosmology

I have a question about the Boltzmann equation in cosmology. Im trying to understand how this can hold? Where does the logarithmic terms come from? It is explained quite well here ...
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73 views

Shape of galaxies [duplicate]

i want to know why galaxies are spiral in nature.. let us say there is some sort of intense mass (black hole?) at the centre of our milky way galaxy. the intense gravitaional pull is keeping evey ...
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82 views

If I observe a planet because of reflected sun-light, how does the radiant flux vary with distance?

I wish to figure out how the flux of the sun's reflected light from a planet varies with distance, so assume an observer is on the sun, looking at a planet, and the light originating from the planet ...
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2answers
61 views

Do the outer gas planets radiate their mass?

We know that the sun experiences angular momentum loss, and radiates a portion of it's mass (though helicity is conserved). Can we say the same about massive Jupiter, or even Saturn, Uranus or ...
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109 views

Pulsar age determination

In one method to determine the age of a pulsar one assumes the spinning frequency $\nu$ to obey $\nu=-k\cdot\dot{\nu}^n$ where $k$ is some constant and $n$ is the braking index of the pulsar. For the ...
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How does dark matter collapse?: Entropy considerations

Inspired by this question. I believe that the usual explanation that preserves the second law of thermodynamics as an astrophysical gas cloud collapses under gravity is that the gas must heat and ...
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117 views

Typical rotation speeds for black holes

I am curious as to how rapidly most black holes are spinning. A refinement of the question could be: how rapidly are typical supermassive black holes spinning? I ask because I have the impression ...
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Why does a supernova explode

This is really bugging me. When you look up some educational text about stars life, this is what you find out: Gravity creates the temperature and pressure to start fusion reactions. The fusion ...
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1answer
151 views

Properties of a star made from water? [closed]

What would the properties of a star formed from a sphere a water/ice be? One large (massive) enough to collapse into an ordinary, mostly plasma star. I understand that it would have particularly high ...
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789 views

Why does fusion stop at iron when nickel is most tightly bound?

My understanding is that stellar fusion naturally stops at iron because it is energetically unfavourable to grow the nucleus further. But iron is only the third most tightly-bound nucleus, nickel is ...
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Would a supermassive black hole accretion disk really vaporize solid objects?

Both the movie Interstellar and Greg Egan's Incandescence involve worlds deep inside accretion disks of large holes, kept at a comfortable temperature. Is this (remotely) realistic? Although ...
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Why more Fe-56 than Ni-62 as fusion product in heavy stars?

Suppose we create an Fe-56 nucleus and an Ni-62 nucleus, each from individual protons and neutrons. In the case of Ni-62, more mass per nucleon is converted to binding energy. Thus we could argue the ...
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110 views

Do inelastic or elastic collisions have any effect on a large bodies movement (like the Earth)

Recently read a question regarding the temperature of the CMB & one of the comments got me thinking... From what I understand, collisions between subatomic particles and objects out in ...
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Elements of a Planet reveals nearby supernova remnant?

During a random reading through this site, I found this one: Origin of elements heavier than Iron (Fe) There was an answer mentioning that "the formation of many elements in earth was due to ...
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Solar System Snow Line: 5AU or 2.7AU?

I am trying to update the Wikipedia article "Frost Line (astrophysics)". During my last update (by QuantumShadow), I noticed that different sources cite different values for Solar System water ice ...