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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Formation of supermassive black holes

Scientists have found very bright source of light which they call quasar and the are found to be supermassive black holes. So these black holes are so massive that they cannot be formed by a ...
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406 views

What is the luminosity of the Milky Way galaxy?

The luminosity of the Milky Way galaxy according to this is $5\times10^{36}$ Watts, but this number suggests that there are about 10 billion stars with Solar luminosities in the Milky Way, which ...
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Why aren't there spherical galaxies? [duplicate]

According to the Wikipedia page on Galaxy Types, there are four main kinds of galaxies: Spirals - as the name implies, these look like huge spinning spirals with curved "arms" branching out ...
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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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93 views

Is there a binary black hole system in the middle of the galaxy?

We have observed gravity effects from black holes in the center of galaxies, but galactic centers are so dusty that we can’t tell if it’s one black hole or two black holes in a binary system in there. ...
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Why the galaxies forms 2D plane (or spiral-like) instead of 3D ball (or spherical-like)?

Question: As we know, (1) the macroscopic spatial dimension of our universe is 3 dimension, and (2) gravity attracts massive objects together and the gravitational force is isotropic without ...
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119 views

How far has a 13.7 billion year old photon travelled

I've read that the size of the observable Universe is thought to be around ~46 billion light years, and that the light we see from the most distant galaxies were emitted ~13.7 billion years ago as a ...
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18 views

Why is it presumed that “Recent Venus” is a boundary of the Solar System's optimistic habitable zone?

I have a question concerning the optimistic inner boundary of Solar System's habitable zone, called the "Recent Venus". I couldn't find an answer in the internet that would put everything to places, ...
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2answers
73 views

Differences between astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology? [on hold]

What is the main difference between Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Cosmology? I have the impression that astronomy is a subject that runs parallel to physics but it is outside the physics field. This ...
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2answers
51 views

Habitable zones around other stars

I have a question about measuring the boundaries of habitable zones on other planets. Is it okay to assume that, if Sun's habitable zone starts at a distance $R_0$ and its luminosity is $L_0$, we can ...
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66 views

Has the number of new stars born decreased over time? And why?

Has the number of new stars being formed decreased at all over the age of the universe? Would this be because the average density of the universe is decreasing due to the expansion of the universe, it ...
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How do scientists estimate elemental-abundance in the universe?

I understand how cosmological observations can estimate the amount of 'baryonic matter' in the universe, but what I don't understand is how scientists can estimate the abundance of a particular ...
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Can there be Electron and/or Proton Stars?

What happens to all of the electrons and protons in the material of a neutron star? Could there ever be an electron star or a proton star?
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Expansion rate in matter dominated era [duplicate]

Do physicists know what the expansion rate of the Universe was at the beginning of the matter dominated era?
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82 views

Why isn't all of the dust in a nebula used in the formation of a star?

I was watching a show on discovery and according to it, in a nebula the dust and gases slowly come together and as the gravity increases and the pressure rises in the core the gases fuse together and ...
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1answer
51 views

Is there a scientific term for star formation?

It might be my stupidity to think that many laymen terms that most people use to describe some physics phenomena usually have a scientifically accepted term or name? The process of star formation, ...
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3answers
1k views

The Pioneer anomaly finally explained?

Pioneer 10 & 11 are robotic space probes launched by the NASA in the early 1970's. After leaving our solar system, an unusual deceleration of both spacecrafts has been measured to be approximately ...
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2answers
63 views

Why does a photon take less than a week to come out of the convection zone of the sun?

Sun consists of three parts: Radiation zone, Convection zone, Photosphere . When photon is formed at the core, it has high energy equivalent to $\gamma$ ray. When it crosses the radiation zone, it ...
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1answer
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Can a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) cause a blackout on Earth and why?

Can a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) cause a blackout on Earth and why is it so what's the relation between electro magnetic radiations and electrical and electronic appliance.what exactly does it do to ...
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215 views

What causes the dimensions of a star increase when its hydrogen fuel is exhausted?

What causes the dimensions of a star increase when its hydrogen fuel is exhausted? For example, the Sun is expected to increase its radius 250 times. What causes this if its temperature is expected to ...
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563 views

Quantum Mechanics and nuclear fusion

I've been told that, according to QM, when Hydrogen atoms are left together there is a non-zero probability that they spontaneously fuse (I accept this bit). I've been told further that, because of ...
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Does degeneracy affect the adiabatic relation?

The adiabatic relation is $P=K\rho^\gamma$. For ideal monotomic gas $\gamma$ is 5/3. For nonrelativistic degenerate electron(inside white dwarf), $\gamma$ is also 5/3. Is this just an coincidence? ...
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Is it possible to increase temperature of sun using radiation of sun itself?

We know that we can focus radiation of sun and can burn a paper. If we think of this thought experiment, will that happen? If someone constructs a concave mirror on the sun and concentrate radiation ...
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What is the origin of spin of celestial objects?

In an older question from June 2011, Why does each celestial object spin on its own axis?, apparently revived by the system, a user is asking about the origin of the rotation of celestial bodies. The ...
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30 views

Graviational Lensing Data

Can anyone provide me with (or point me to) real life gravitational lensing data that I can plug in to the first equation on this page (the standard lensing equation): ...
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4answers
2k views

Why does each celestial object spin on its own axis?

AFAIK all the celestial objects have a spin motion around its axis. What is the reason for this? If it must rotate by some theory, what decides it's direction and speed of rotation? Is there any ...
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2answers
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Electromagnetism in astrophysics

What is the most important electromagnetic phenomena involved in astrophysics?, I am working in a presentation of magnetars, pulsars and magnetic field of planets and I would like to know if there are ...
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193 views

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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3answers
617 views

Do all black holes spin in the same direction?

My question is as stated above, do all black holes spin the same direction? To my knowledge, the spin in the direction of the spin of the matter that created them. Another similar question was asked ...
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1answer
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If matter and antimatter were produced equally during the big bang, where is the rest of the antimatter? [duplicate]

As far as my understanding goes, during the 'Big Bang' equal amounts of matter and antimatter (matter's oppositely charged twin) were produced, and the physical matter that remains within this ...
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39 views

Modelling gravitational potential of a galaxy

I am interested in modelling the gravitational potential of a disc-shaped galaxy with radius $R$, i.e. solving the 2D Poisson equation numerically by Gauss-Seidel relaxation: $$\nabla^2 \phi = 4\pi G ...
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31 views

Mathematical text for Astrophysics [closed]

Please recommend me some Mathematical text books and a list of Mathematical topics for Astrophysics.
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3answers
143 views

When a star turns into a red giant what stops its core contracting

I recently asked this question When do stars become red giants? and am now wondering when the star's core is contracting after it has fused $H$ to $He$ what force stops the contraction just before it ...
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1answer
90 views

What would a normal thermometer read at the Sun's photosphere?

I was reading about the Earth's Thermosphere, and I quote this: "The highly diluted gas in this layer can reach 2,500 °C (4,530 °F) during the day. Even though the temperature is so high, one would ...
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271 views

What mechanism is responsible for the creation of these dunes on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko?

What mechanism is responsible for the creation of these dunes on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko? The following high resolution picture from ESA's Rosetta mission shows the dunes: At a distance ...
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1answer
39 views

Questions regarding the feasibility of “Jupiter”-like fusion reactor

I was reading this post from this website: Turning Jupiter into a star It basically talks about whether fusion can or does happen in the core of Jupiter. I know Jupiter cannot become a star, but I ...
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3answers
404 views

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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55 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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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
2k 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
50 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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278 views

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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1answer
92 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 ...
12
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1answer
578 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 ...
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2answers
185 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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24 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
145 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
47 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
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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 ...
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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?