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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Does the Chandrasekhar Limit scale for a Black Hole?

No physicist/astrophysicist I; All I know about the Chandrasekhar limit is that it apparently limits the mass a star may survive, beyond which it degenerates to a neutron star, or a black-hole. Does ...
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2answers
800 views

How was the Oh-My-God particle observed?

How exactly was the Oh-My-God particle (ultra-high energy cosmic ray) observed and its energy measured?
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1answer
851 views

What size will the Sun become once it is a red giant?

How big will the Sun be once it becomes a red giant? How much of the solar system will it engulf?
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5answers
513 views

How is distance measured to far away stars and galaxies?

What I need is an accurate description of the methods used to determine the distance to Andromeda. The Parallax method is for nearby objects as I presume. The red shift method applies, but how do you ...
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2answers
1k views

Artificial planetary magnetic field

I wonder how difficult it is to create an artificial planetary magnetic field with generators? What power they would need? The question is inspired by thinking about possible colonization of ...
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3answers
4k views

What are good books for graduates/undergraduates in Astrophysics?

There are no book recommendations for Astrophysics here. I will write my own answer, but I am also interested in what are others' views on the question (I will NOT mark my own answer as the best one). ...
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1answer
104 views

If the observable universe keeps expanding would we eventualy see light 24/7… clouds permiting? [duplicate]

If we can see more observable universe could there be a time when day and night looked the same?
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1answer
126 views

What is the maximum mass of planet HD 40307 g

Recently discovered planet HD 40307g around HD40307 Star system is claiming that its inside a habitual zone of a solar system. Besides It has water where life could be evolved. I tried to calculate ...
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1answer
73 views

Böotes Void and Dark Galxies

Wouldn't it be possible that Böotes Void, a space we generally consider to be "empty" be filled with a number of undetectable dark galaxies?
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2answers
108 views

A thought about Quasars

If Quasars are "beams" of energy exiting a super-massive black hole, in order for them to get through the black-hole's event horizon, they'd have to be traveling faster than the speed of light. My ...
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2answers
201 views

How to calculate gravity inside the star?

Gravity must decrease due to less effective mass when going inside the object but also must increase with depth inside the star due to its higher density. Is there a model or formula approximating ...
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3answers
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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1answer
80 views

Why does $H_2$ form on such a long time scale?

If we were trying to figure out the time scale for a gas-phase reaction between two hydrogen atoms in a molecular cloud (which has density $~10^4/$cm$^3$), apparently the reaction would happen on a ...
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4answers
138 views

How do black holes accrete mass?

Thanks to time dilation, a distant observer watching a man fall in to a black hole will only see him asymptotically approach the event horizon. So how do black holes ever get bigger?
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1answer
192 views

What day/night cycles, climate and seasons would experience Alpha Centauri Bb inhabitants?

Alpha Centauri Bb is an exoplanet orbiting Alpha Centauri B. It is asserted that given the close distance to the star the planet should be tidally locked. The orbiting period of the planet is about ...
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1answer
278 views

Trying to link Eulerian and Lagrangian perturbations

I'm trying to make sense of the link between a (linear) Eulerian (i.e., at a given point) and Lagrangian (following a fluid element) perturbation. I will here express not only where I'm stuck, but ...
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1answer
1k views

Why are the orbits of the planets in our solar system along the same basic plane? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why are our planets in the solar system all on the same disc/plane/layer? After watching this video I realized that the orbits of the planets in our solar system ...
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1answer
183 views

When and How far out will the Voyager twins come to a full-stop?

So space is mostly, but not entirely, empty. Every few (dunno the order) cubic metres of space there is some cosmic dust. Assuming that Cosmic dust exerts some friction on passing bodies, The ...
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2answers
125 views

Why is the gas halo of the Milky Way so hot?

I have read on the webpage of NASA that there is a massive hot gas halo around our galaxy. Its temperature is between 100,000 and 1 million Kelvins or more. I do not understand why is it so hot. The ...
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2answers
952 views

Why is Larry Niven's Ringworld Unstable?

In his 1970 science fiction novel Ringworld, author Larry Niven describes the eponymous Ringworld, a gigantic structure shaped as a ring with a radius of around 1 AU, rotating around a star in the ...
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1answer
127 views

What would happen in the final days of the universe?

I would like to know the stages of how the universe would end and what would happen and what the possible scenarios are. I understand that eventually all the stars would burn out and that would ...
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1answer
181 views

Why are black hole singularities stable?

The Friedmann equations says that huge matter densities lead to huge expansion rates. In Newtonian gravity, two massive point particles separated by an infinitesimal distance will experience an ...
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2answers
712 views

What is the physical size of a black hole?

Something that's always confused me. How large is a black hole's physical size - not mass? From descriptions, it would seem that the 'singularity' is a single point, but is it really? Say for ...
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2answers
121 views

Why is NASA interested in Gamma ray bursts?

Gamma-ray bursts(GRBs) are flashes of gamma rays associated with extremely energetic explosions why nasa interested to Gamma ray burst?
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1answer
86 views

Does the spectrum of Sol's emission change as it ages?

A follow-up to my earlier question How would one navigate interstellar space? that just occurred to me; albeit on a different tack. Sol is probably in a state of continuous flux. The change of state ...
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1answer
137 views

How is retrograde motion explained in Tycho's model?

Tycho proposed a model of the solar system where all planets but Earth move around the sun while the sun and the moon move around the earth. I wonder how this model could explain the retrograde ...
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2answers
92 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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2answers
100 views

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

The temperature at the surface of Sol is apparently well above 5000C; I'm assuming the layers beneath the surface may be even hotter. At school we learnt heating a metal beyond a certain temperature ...
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8answers
3k views

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 ...
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1answer
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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3answers
195 views

Why and how will we be able to image extraterrestrial planets in the next two decades?

According to a recently published article, a well-established Cambridge astrophysicist stated that: the “origin of life, where it exists, and whether aliens exist, is going to be crucial over ...
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6answers
1k views

Why is there an escape velocity?

I've been trying for days, but I just can't understand why escape velocities exist. I've searched the web and even this site, and although I've read many explanations, I haven't been able to truly ...
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2answers
167 views

What is the Schechter luminosity function's domain of support?

I'm trying to fit a Schechter luminosity function to some data points, but it's not clear from this definition what the domain of support of the PDF should be. I'm familiar with the standard Pareto ...
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1answer
135 views

Official definition of astronomical units

As it is relatively easy to find an official value for a large number of physical constants, (thanks to CODATA), it is not so easy for some units widely used in astronomy (Wikipedia, Google and IAU ...
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6answers
3k 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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0answers
98 views

Mass loss rate of planetary nebulae

The “interacting wind” model of planetary nebulae is based on the idea that the white dwarf phase of stellar evolution is preceded by a red giant phase. A fast wind from the hot white dwarf overtakes ...
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1answer
48 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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0answers
114 views

gauss-bonnet gravity constraints from string theory

recently there has been advances in observational constraints of gravity theories that contains scalars coupled to the gauss-bonnet topological term: http://arxiv.org/abs/0704.0175 ...
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1answer
217 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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4answers
457 views

Explosion in space

I'm curious about what happens if an explosive substance detonates in space. On Earth, I guess a good chunk of the energy released is carried away by shock waves in the atmosphere. But in space, the ...
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0answers
63 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
92 views

What allows new born suns to travel away from each other?

What allows massive new born suns to move away from each other, as they have been observed. I would think that their massive gravity would prevent this and cause them to slam into each other.
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1answer
439 views

What would happen if a hydrogen bomb were to explode in Saturn's atmosphere?

Purely hypothetical since any kind of testing in atmosphere/space is banned by international legislation/agreement. The humans have already bombed Luna so ... what could be expected to happen on ...
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4answers
5k views

Size of universe after inflation?

Wikipedia states the period of inflation was from $10^{-36}$sec to around $10^{-33}$sec or $10^{-32}$sec after Big Bang, but it doesn't say what the size of the universe was when inflation ended. ...
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2answers
413 views

Can $10^{23}$ stars be treated with methods of statistical mechanics?

Statistical mechanics is used to describe systems with large number of particles ~$10^{23}$. The observable universe contains between $10^{22}$ to $10^{24}$ stars. Can we treat those many stars as a ...
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2answers
338 views

How convincing is the evidence for dark matter annihilation at 130 GeV in the galactic center from the Fermi Satellite data?

I listened to Christoph Weniger present his results at SLAC today. See his paper is here: http://arxiv.org/abs/1204.2797 and also see a different analysis here: http://arxiv.org/abs/1205.1045. The ...
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1answer
76 views

Does a celestial system exhibit a collective magnetic field?

Sol exhibits a magnetic field, most of the planets in orbit around Sol exhibit a magnetic field - strong and weak both. Does the solar system as a whole exhibit a magnetic field? Does the paradigm ...
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0answers
50 views

squeezed radiation astronomy

Squeezed electromagnetic vacuum does have a renormalized energy density smaller than the vacuum. So it makes it in my opinion a inconspicuous candidate for a dark energy carrier. Are there ...
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0answers
46 views

Experimental tests of Cluster Decmposition

How tight are experimental and astrophysical tests on whether Cluster Decomposition is satisfied at various space-like separations? Is there a review paper or a standard reference on the question? I ...
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1answer
93 views

Why are galactic centers always brighter than the edges?

As you can see this image http://i.stack.imgur.com/YOt8C.jpg and other galaxy images, the centers generally much brighter. Why is that? Is there a very big star? A very big gravitational field?