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 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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87 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
143 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
94 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
103 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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171 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
198 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
184 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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101 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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117 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
226 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
521 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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1answer
77 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
94 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
484 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
6k 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
418 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
341 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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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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47 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?
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195 views

models for astrophysical relativistic jets from compact objects

what is the simplest way to understand the physics of relativistic jets? we know that they have axial symmetry with very tight angular spread, presumably aligned with the axis of rotation of the ...
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58 views

How is the universe expanding? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: spacetime expansion and universe expansion? Is the space between planets is growing or the space between stars is growing or the space between galaxies is growing?
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1answer
5k views

Negative and positive energy and Hawking [closed]

I don't have any physics background (except the material we did in high school-long time ago). I was watching a documentary with Stephen Hawking about whether God created the Universe and I could not ...
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2answers
113 views

Precessional motion of active galactic nuclei

I want to set a simulation for jet which has a precessional motion. The symmetry axis of jet is $z$ axis, i.e. jet is propagating along $z$ direction making angle $\theta$. I set the velocity ...
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1answer
127 views

Does diffraction contribute to the Black Drop effect?

Two reasons are given to explain the black drop effect here, but I think I came up with a third. Consider a two-dimensional cross section of the situation just after second contact and just before ...
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1answer
136 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
1k views

Do materials cool down in the vacuum of space?

Do materials cool down in the vacuum of space? If yes, how does it really work?
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207 views

Pressures Necessary for Carbon Detonation

Carbon detonation is a characteristic event of Type 1a Supernova (EDIT: where an accreting white dwarf near the Chandrashankar limit of 1.4 solar masses explodes), an extremely important standard ...
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1answer
94 views

Is there any way to produce food without sun, synthetically?

Is there any way to produce food without sun, synthetically? I mean if we face solar winter. look at: Is there any way to survive solarwinter like in Sunshine - movie?
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1answer
540 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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2answers
115 views

Is there any way to survive solarwinter like in Sunshine - movie?

Is there any way to survive solarwinter like in Sunshine - movie? Solar winter is where for some reason sun looses its capasity to produce radiation( heat etc.). It doesn't loose everything but some ...
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1answer
80 views

Regarding binary systems

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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226 views

How many stars within 5 parsecs?

I've ran some scripts on some star catalogs, which counted the number of stars with a parallax greater than 200 mas, which should mean everything closer than 5 pc. The results are as follows: ...
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2answers
49 views

Locating a Comet, how is it done?

How are the comet-hunters able to precisely locate/know about the required comets ? How can they distinguish between comets from such a far distance ? How are they able to estimate the exact time ...
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2answers
923 views

Parabolic or Hyperbolic?

How can astronomers find the difference between a parabolic and a hyperbolic comet ? What are the criteria that helps them distinguish these ? Can a parabolic comet switch over to become a hyperbolic ...
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25 views

Expansion of Universe [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why space expansion affects matter? If the Expansion is prevalent, i.e. it is observable and true then shouldn't that result in the expansion of the Milky Way galaxy, ...
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1answer
82 views

Gravity and Magnetism on Stars

I am familiar with the fact that Magnetars have a really strong magnetic field and an ordinary star such as the Sun has a very strong gravitational field. But what about the opposite? What is the ...
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1answer
193 views

When would the proposed black hole at the centre of Milky Way gulp in our solar system? [duplicate]

I've heard and read that our solar system lies near to the peripheral region of the Galaxy. Then accordingly we would have a greater probability of sustaining to eventual gulping down by the ...
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1answer
510 views

Combined Gravitational Force Vectors in a Spherical Coordinate System

Asking a question here is quite intimidating for me -- while I love Physics, my high-school understanding only allows me to go so far... I've been trying to solve this problem for the last couple of ...
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1answer
495 views

Why will the increase in the sun's luminosity accelerate with respect to time?

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_of_the_Earth#Solar_evolution At present, nearly half the hydrogen at the core has been consumed, with the remainder of the atoms consisting primarily of ...
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1answer
125 views

Is it possible to mould _ruptures_ in Space-time?

In one of the documentaries hosted by Morgan Freeman, a reference was made that just like an ordinary three-dimensional object like a ruler has scratches and cracks, in the same way there might be ...
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1answer
223 views

How early can scientists detect that a deadly asteroid will hit planet earth?

With the advancements in science and technology, how early can scientists of the world detect that a certain asteroid will hit planet earth and cause damage? Are there any impact avoidance strategies ...
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1answer
372 views

How does a star wobble due to orbiting bodies

What equations determine how a star wobbles in response to an orbiting planet, and can it be used to determine the mass of distant objects based on the wobble? If there are other more reliable ...