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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9
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3answers
168 views
+100

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
143 views

What is the average mass of galaxies according to Hubble Deep and Ultra Deep field observations?

It is very widely known among people interested in astronomy that there are 100-400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy and there are ~ 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe, which is ...
36
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9answers
4k views

How would night sky look like if the speed of light was infinite?

Would it be brighter? Different color? Gravitational lensing? Would black holes exist?
2
votes
1answer
61 views

The mass of universe at the point of the Big Bang

The density of universe at the time of the Big-Bang was infinitely high. Does that mean that the mass was also infinitely high? ( the universe was extremely small at that time)
0
votes
4answers
185 views

What is the largest number applicable to the universe? [on hold]

That is, what is the largest number one could possibly come across in the physics of the universe? I would assume it might have something to do with the maximum number of combinations of possible ...
6
votes
2answers
126 views

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

The temperature at the surface of the Sun is apparently well above 5000 C; I'm assuming the layers beneath the surface may be even hotter. At school, we learned that heating a metal beyond a certain ...
3
votes
1answer
204 views

Why do galaxies “disappear?”

So, this bit of information confused me lately. Before, I figured galaxies were no longer visible by us because their luminosity decreased in an inverse square manner. However, while watching a movie ...
2
votes
0answers
46 views

Angular momentum in an accretion disk

I need to plot the time evolution of the total angular momentum in an accretion disc. This confuses me because I thought this should be constant, since angular momentum has to be conserved? I'm given ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

How can we be Certain that Dark Matter Exists if we Cannot See it or Directly Detect It? [duplicate]

It seems very certain that dark matter exists and that it makes up 26.8% of the Universe today (along with 68.3% Dark Energy and 4.9% Atoms), but how can this be if we cannot see it or directly detect ...
5
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3answers
260 views

What does this stellar mass distribution mean?

According to this pie above and for the "Red Dwarfs" part, which of these is correct : 1) 41% of the stellar mass of a galaxy is in stars with masses < $0.25$ $M_{\odot}$ or 2) 41% of the ...
1
vote
1answer
25 views

Magnetar field energy density

According to Wikipedia a Magnetar... Earth has a geomagnetic field of 30–60 microteslas, and a neodymium-based, rare-earth magnet has a field of about 1 tesla, with a magnetic energy density ...
10
votes
2answers
160 views

Where did the energy released due to gravitational binding energy of the Earth go?

The gravitational binding energy of the Earth is $2×10^{32} J $, so the same amount of energy must have been released during the Earth's history. According to this and this, the current internal ...
2
votes
2answers
64 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?
0
votes
1answer
64 views

Temperature of the surface of the sun? [closed]

I recently had an exam question that asked for the temperature at the surface of the sun. The question is The equation I believe you have to use is The Q/t is the radiant power produced by the ...
33
votes
5answers
6k views

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 ...
0
votes
1answer
24 views

Difference between astronomy and astrophysics [duplicate]

In my university, the department for astronomy and astrophysics are distinct. I want to know what's basically the difference between the two fields?
0
votes
1answer
58 views

Where does gravity originate?

Does it emanate strictly from energy dense regions of space? What does that mean? Is it possible to, say, arrange clumps of matter in such a way as to create a virtual gravity well in space where ...
2
votes
0answers
18 views

How can comets have sand dunes without atmospheric erosion? [duplicate]

This article here talks about dunes visible on comet 67P: In August, the European Space Agency (ESA) achieved a major success when its Rosetta probe rendezvoused with comet 67P. The spacecraft ...
2
votes
1answer
24 views

Why is the rotation curve of a galaxy lower if measured with CO rather than H?

I have a simple question regarding galactic rotation curves. I know they are studied mostly using 21 cm emission of Hydrogen in the outer regions and with CO emissions in the inner regions, but why do ...
2
votes
1answer
27 views

Typical energy of a solar flare

I read that solar flares are customarily viewed in H-alpha light, as a temporary brightening of a small portion of chromosphere. What all can be interpreted from this? Is it because, energy of the ...
3
votes
2answers
128 views

What is the origin of CMB fluctuations?

I have read somewhere that CMB (cosmic microwave background radiation) fluctuations in temperature are linked to mass distribution fluctuations in the early universe (at ~350000 years after Big Bang, ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

What happens to the neighboring star of a type Ia supernova?

Supernovae of type "Ia" are those without helium present, but with evidence of silicon present in the spectrum. The most accepted theory is that this type of supernova is the result of mass accretion ...
2
votes
2answers
642 views

What would happen to a teaspoon of neutron star material if released on Earth?

I've read on NASA's page on neutron star that one teaspoonful of that star would weigh over 20 billion tonnes on Earth. If it was somehow possible to bring it to earth would it: Burn and disappear ...
3
votes
2answers
80 views

How much of a galaxy's mass is in stars?

I have been trying to find an answer for this question for a while without a success, so I guess it might not have a specific answer. But to make things easier, let's take the Milky Way galaxy as an ...
1
vote
3answers
161 views

Photons straight into black hole

What happens to a photon shot straight into a black hole? Does it gain infinite momentum before it crosses the horizon? If it has a finite momentum going in, then it would seem that a photon of the ...
11
votes
1answer
268 views

Do celestial objects experience drag from the near vacuum of space/does the near vacuum have a mean velocity?

For instance do the planets around the sun experience drag from the near vacuum of space? Or do the (hydrogen) atoms in interplanetary space have a mean velocity near orbital speeds, such that object ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

Why does orbiting matter form an acretion disk? [duplicate]

Why does matter in orbital motion around a central body tend to form an accretion disk, as opposed to some other configuration like a sphere? I know this has something to do with angular momentum ...
3
votes
1answer
49 views

Could the estimated stellar mass for the Milky Way galaxy include brown dwarfs?

Trying to find an estimate for the stellar mass of the MW galaxy, I found this paper and the estimated stellar mass is $~6.5 \times 10^{10} M_{\odot}$. I was also trying to understand the methods used ...
21
votes
5answers
2k views

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?
5
votes
1answer
42 views

According to the initial mass function, should there be more brown dwarfs than red dwarfs?

According to the IMF and the stellar mass distribution, stars become more abundant the less massive they are. And while objects must have a mass > 0.075 solar mass to become a star, brown dwarfs with ...
2
votes
0answers
56 views

Electric and magnetic field in a black hole

I have many questions about this topic: Does the electric field of a charged black hole look like this? I mean how can it have an electric field if nothing can escape from a black hole, and what is ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

How do neutron stars burn? Is it decay or fusion or something else?

What makes a neutron star burn, and what kind of fusion/decay is happening there? What is supposed to happen with a neutron star in the long run? What if it cools, then what do the degenerated matter ...
10
votes
1answer
635 views

What happens to Protons and Electrons when a Neutron star forms?

What happens to Protons and Electrons when a Neutron star forms? At some point gravity overcomes the Pauli Exclusion Principle ( I assume) and they are all forced together. What happens in the ...
4
votes
1answer
57 views

What is the distribution of Population I and II stars in the Milky Way galaxy?

I have been trying to find out the distribution of Population I and II stars in the Milky Way. The distribution I mean is the percentage of each population to the total stars in the galaxy. So in ...
6
votes
2answers
477 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
38 views

Where do ultra-high-energy cosmic rays come from?

Physicists have detected an amazing variety of energetic phenomena in the universe, including beams of particles of unexpectedly high energy but of unknown origin. In laboratory accelerators, we can ...
3
votes
5answers
77 views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
265 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
70 views

Stellar Activity Cycle versus Metallicity

Our Sun exhibits sunspot max/mins on about a 11 year period. It's a G2 spectral class on the HR Diagram. We know that some stars exhibit "starspot" cycles of various intensities and periods. These ...
0
votes
2answers
22 views

How velocity dispersion changes with change of inertial frame

I'm analysing a bunch of simulated galaxies, and one of the properties I'm looking at is their velocity dispersion (which is the same thing as the standard deviation of their speeds as far as I know). ...
-1
votes
2answers
141 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 dusty so we can’t tell if it’s one black hole or two black holes in a binary system in there. A ...
4
votes
1answer
56 views

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 ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

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 ...
27
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
0
votes
3answers
137 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
19 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, ...
2
votes
2answers
95 views

Differences between astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology? [closed]

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
56 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
72 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
49 views

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 ...