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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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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63 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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23 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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56 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
50 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...
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41 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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33 views

How many exobiologist are there in the world? How many exobiologists are there who work specifically on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence? [closed]

I have two questions: How many exobiologist are there in the entire world? How many exobiologists are there who work specifically on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence? (I emphasize the ...
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1answer
37 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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30 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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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 ...
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1answer
39 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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57 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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31 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 ...
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2answers
79 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
4k 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: ...
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1answer
75 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 ...
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4k 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
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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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26 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 ...
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35 views

How to calculate the kinetic energy of supernova ejecta?

I believed I could use $0.5\times M_{ej} V_{ej}^2$, with $M_{ej}$ being the ejected mass and $V_{ej}$ being the velocity of the ejected mass. But I noticed in this and this that the the mean velocity ...
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0answers
26 views

Resources on Solar Neutrino Physics

For a project I'm doing for an introductory Astrophysics course, I'm trying to understand the nuances of solar neutrino physics. However, most of what is said while explaining neutrino oscillations ...
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1answer
108 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 ...
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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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4answers
913 views

What cosmic event would cause Sun rising from the west?

I'm wondering what kind of astronomical or geological events would cause the reversal of Earth's rotation. For instance, Is a meteorite passing very close to Earth able to reverse its rotation? Can ...
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255 views

Can a planet form before the parent star ignites?

I'm unable to find an answer to my questions via my searches. This questions pertains to the timeline of a star system creation. My question: During the creation of a star system, can satellite ...
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3answers
272 views

Dark age of universe when all fusion process ceases?

Some say we live in the golden age of the universe because there exits countless number of stars that shines in the dark universe. As the supply of gas for star formation is steadily being exhausted, ...
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34 views

Does the zero energy universe hold true on some mathematical grounds besides observations?

I was reading Stephen Hawking's 'The theory of everything' when I came across a very interesting type of universe, the 'zero energy universe' since then, I've read some websites but all they used to ...
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395 views

How can a spiral galaxy exist?

A spiral arm orbiting a central mass should be dispersed quite quickly as the outer elements would move more slowly than the inner ones. The Milky Way, is about 59 Galactic Years old, which, one would ...
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33 views

Angular momentum in an accretion disk

I need to plot the time evolution of the total angular momentum in an accretion disk. This confuses me because I thought this should be constant, since angular momentum has to be conserved? I'm given ...
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4answers
98 views

Entropy and dark matter structure

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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2answers
218 views

How to explain the existence of heavier elements in Population I stars and in Population II stars contain lighter one

Recently I read Astrophysics Notes where I found a statement that young stars are classified as Population I stars and relatively older one as Population II stars. Population I stars contain ...
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4answers
319 views

Interstellar dust/matter distribution

It is known that one of the main problems of interstellar flight is a presence of matter between stars in form of very fine dust and huge asteroids. Which can slowly (or fast) destroy any ship. What ...
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2answers
416 views

Experimental observation of matter/antimatter in the universe

Ordinary matter and antimatter have the same physical properties when it comes to, for example, spectroscopy. Hydrogen and antihydrogen atoms produce the same spectroscopy when excited, and adsorb the ...
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1answer
97 views

Why are cgs units the norm in astrophysics?

Other physics communities, e.g. the particle physics one, have their own set of units, custom-tailored to their own needs. Now, the astrophysics community is somewhat similar, in that a lot of ...
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423 views

Are Neutron stars transparent?

Neutrons have no charge so they would not, I think, interact with photons. Would a neutron star be transparent?
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49 views

Geophysical Effects of Supernova Neutrino Pulse

While neutrinos are generally totally harmless, a supernova produces enough of them at once that the neutrino flux would kill you if you could stand close enough (and not be killed by other means ...
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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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38 views

How to prove the Hubble law is the unique expansion law compatible with homogeneity and isotropy?

In the book physical foundations of cosmology, it saids that Hubble law is unique and a problem seems to be a hint of proving that. In order for a general expansion law,v=f(r,t), to be the same ...
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1answer
35 views

What is the power of the most powerful quasar found?

Trying to find an answer to this question, I came across many sources that are in complete in contradiction. For example Wikipedia states that a typical quasar has a power of $10^{40}$ watts while ...
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1answer
177 views

Maintaining local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) in radiating gas with a broad atomic transition line

Definitions / Background In LTE, Kirchoff's law for radiation holds: $$ \frac{j_{\nu}}{\alpha_{\nu}} = B_{\nu} (T) $$ where $j_{\nu}$ is the specific radiative emissivity, $\alpha_{\nu}$ is the ...
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1answer
31 views

Are the cylindrical and spherical form of Jeans' equations equivalent?

The question kind of says it all, what I really want to know is are the differences in their forms only due to the co-ordinate transform? And as such should a suitable spherical system satisfy ...
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1answer
82 views

Infinite number of universes? Black holes are guilty? [closed]

I was thinking, if the space is infinite, what if there are infinite number of spaces, inside our universe? I mean, everyone knows that black holes exist, but nobody knows what happens when you get ...
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2answers
77 views

Power radiated by a star, black body model

let's say I want to model a star of radius $R$ at a distance $r$ from the Earth. I need to show that the apparent luminosity for frequency $\nu$ is equal to $$\ell(\nu)=\frac{2\pi h}{c^2}\left( ...
12
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2answers
959 views

Temperature of a neutron star

In our everyday experience termperature is due to the motion of atoms, molecules, etc. A neutron star, where protons and electrons are fused together to form neutrons, is nothing but a huge nucleus ...
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3answers
385 views

Shouldn't stars disappear from our view due to expansion?

The currently accepted theory of the expansion of the universe would suggest that for any point in the universe, there is a 'boundary' (somewhat like the Schwarzschild radius) beyond which it cannot ...
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3answers
898 views

What stabilizes neutrons against beta decay in a neutron star?

Free neutrons are known to undergo beta decay with a half-life of slightly above 10 minutes. Binding with other nucleons stabilizes the neutrons in an atomic nucleus, but only if the fraction of ...
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1answer
338 views

How is the mass of black hole at the center of our galaxy measured?

I've been watching a video about dark mater and a lot of the mass is missing in our universe. Astronomers got to this by measuring the speed that stars orbit the center of the galaxy and when they did ...
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121 views

What prevents stars in globular clusters from merging over time to form a black hole?

Globular clusters are apparently very very old, and the density of these clusters appears to increase as one approaches the center of a cluster. Orbits are bound to be chaotic, since there is no ...
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166 views

Simulating a black hole binary system

As part of a project for my degree I am writing code to simulate N-body gravitational interactions, however I have to then use this code to investigate something. Struggling to think of ideas I ...
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882 views

Is it possible that black holes are also neutron stars, but so dark that we cannot see them?

Since the concept of the singularity in a black hole leads to infinite densities, I wonder if it is really certain that black holes exist? Is there a possibility that massive objects (which are ...