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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Mass-to-light ratio and rotation curve from brightness profile

This should probably be basic but I've been looking for days and I can't find how to (I'm probably over complicating, but still). I want to calculate a rotation curve for some spiral galaxies. From ...
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1answer
63 views

Force and lions

Alright. So me and some other people right now need an answer to this. If you have 1 trillion lions traveling at 81 kilometers (top speed of a lion) towards the Sun in a pretty dense ball. (As dense a ...
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6answers
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Is there a black hole in the centre of the Milky Way?

Is it true that the whole galaxy is actually revolving, and powered by a black hole? Has it been proven, and if it is true, how can our solar systems actually keep up the momentum to withstand the ...
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1answer
31 views

Tidal tails of galaxies after collision

When there is a collision of 2 disc shaped galaxies, there is a tail formation created from both the galaxies. I read here that this was due to tidal forces, but I couldn't figure out how this ...
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2answers
76 views

Violation of Pauli Exclusion Principle

From hyperphysics (emphasis mine): Neutron degeneracy is a stellar application of the Pauli Exclusion Principle, as is electron degeneracy. No two neutrons can occupy identical states, even under ...
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1answer
40 views

What is the limit for the size of a galaxy?

The largest known galaxy is just 100x more massive than Milky Way. I wonder if there is some physical mechanism (some equilibrium) which limits the size of galaxies or if it is just because of limited ...
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Which technique is used to measure huge astronomical distances which are in terms of billions of light years? [duplicate]

I know what a "light year" means. However, I am very curious to know about the technique through which scientists are able to calculate the distance of various astronomical bodies from earth which are ...
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What would it be like “inside” a star?

This question was triggered by a discussion regarding the computer game Elite: Dangerous, where spaceships routinely operate in close proximity to stars (two or three light seconds away), at which ...
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5answers
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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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1answer
30 views

PP Chain and CNO cycle relationship

At what temperature would the energy generation rates of the PP-Chain and CNO cycles be roughly equivalent? The dependences are so vastly different that I am wondering how and by what equations they ...
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1answer
71 views

Experimental Data for Mass Distribution of a Galaxy

My goal here is not to discuss dark matter in general. I know there are many other observational clues that hint us towards Dark matter. My goal is simply to understand this argument here a little ...
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1answer
39 views

How much mass is typically ejected from a supernova?

How much mass is released from a supernova of a 15 solar-mass star? 20? 25? What is the relation between star mass and mass ejected?
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56 views

How much atmospheric pressure (CO2) is required to carry iron oxide dust in the wind?

It is common knowledge that there are dust devils and dust storms on Mars. But can we demonstrate that the atmospheric pressure on Mars, which is 0.6% of the pressure we experience on Earth, provides ...
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105 views

What is an 'S-factor' in nuclear physics?

I have seen the "S-factor" in many places, but I've never read an explanation of what it actually is. I have read that it is related to the cross-section of a reaction, but that's about it.
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Can the Sun capture dark matter gravitationally?

I think my title sums it up. Given that we think the dark matter is pseudo-spherically distributed and orbits in the Galactic potential with everything else, then I assume that its speed with respect ...
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1answer
44 views

Angular momentum in planetary disk formation

This question is actually more linked to astronomy and astrophysics than to pure physics. I tried posting it on the astronomy page, however it got no answers, so I though this page might help. ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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4answers
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Why are stars white?

That is may be a easy question, but I am not a professional. The sun is a star and when I look at the sun is usually yellow. Why stars in the night are white? I suppose is for the distance. What is ...
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30 views

What does it mean for a state to have a negative partial decay width?

I don't understand what it means when a particular decay mode has a negative partial decay width. I'm guessing the total decay width for a particular system must always be positive (now that wouldn't ...
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3answers
342 views

Why is the dark matter density profile within the solar radius (and local density) uncertain?

It seems that we know the rotation curve inside the sun's galactic orbit fairly accurately. Then wouldn't we be able to just take the derivative* of this to get the DM density profile at smaller ...
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2answers
63 views

Name for Earth?

What is the proper word for 'Earth', as in 'Solar' and 'Lunar'? I cannot find this anywhere; I am guessing there is a word that starts with geo?
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0answers
43 views

Metal-rich star formation

While discussing star formation on cosmological scales with some classmates, we mentioned the breakdown between the different stellar populations via metallicity: Population III: $Z = [{\rm Fe/H}] ...
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0answers
40 views

The standard textbook on supernovae?

This is a straightforward question: What is considered to be the standard treatment of supernovae? Could be a textbook, lecture notes, review article, etc.
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2answers
95 views

Why does fusion stop at iron when nickel is most tightly bound?

My understanding is that stellar fusion naturally stops at iron because it is energetically unfavourable to grow the nucleus further. But iron is only the third most tightly-bound nucleus, nickel is ...
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For a Plummer model mass distribution, what is the timescale of dissolution?

Given an initial system of masses distributed in a Plummer model close encounters cause stars to gain enough energy to leave the system. What is the timescale over which the whole cluster with N ...
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3answers
242 views

Is there an exact formal definition of the Universe?

I've read several articles about observable Universe, Universe and Hubble volume, including Wikipedia article and references on it, and I wondered: Is there a formal, rigorous definition in physics of ...
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1answer
176 views

Why are polar jets emitted along the axis of rotation?

Why are streams of energy-matter emitted along the axis of rotation of compact objects? (or) what is the reason that they are emitted along the axis of rotation of a compact object?
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2answers
525 views

How is a blackbody spectrum formed in the Sun?

Sunlight can be treated as BB radiation. Why is it a continuous spectrum while the sun contains only a few elements and the radiation from the jumps between atomic levels are discrete? How does the ...
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2answers
262 views

Oldest population 1 star system?

While reading Stanislaw Lem's essays on advanced civilizations, I had a question: When did the earliest generation of population 1 star systems form? How much older could they reasonably be than our ...
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4answers
256 views

What happens during gravitational collapse to cause the formation of a star?

I know that stars are formed from dense regions in large gas clouds. I know that when gravity causes the mass of the clump to get so big that its internal pressure can't sustain it, it collapses and ...
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1answer
46 views

What was the significance of the ionization caused by the Population III stars?

I am reading that the ultraviolet light that radiated from the first stars would ionize the surrounding gas and apparently, all of the matter in the universe would eventually become ionized. So, ...
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1answer
148 views

What types of fusion reactions happened in population III stars?

I have read that, in smaller stars, such as our Sun, the fusion reaction that takes place is a proton-proton chain, or PP chain for short. From what I have learned, in larger stars, a different ...
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2answers
2k views

Is there a limit as to how fast a black hole can grow?

Astronomers find ancient black hole 12 billion times the size of the Sun. According to the article above, we observe this supermassive black hole as it was 900 million years after the formation of ...
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5answers
2k views

Hubble's law and conservation of energy

If all distances are constantly increasing, as Hubble's law say, then lots of potential energies of form ~$\frac{1}{r}$ changes, so how is the total energy of the Universe conserved with Hubble's ...
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1answer
46 views

No tremendous neutrino-flux for SNIa?

Why do neutrino account for 99% of the energy release for a SN II, while it is not expected to be the case for SN Ia? Is it because the densities are not high enough to induce inverse beta-decay? ...
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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 ...
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1answer
23 views

Woltjer's Theorem, partial or total derivative?

Morning everyone.. I am currently studying Plasma Physics on a recent book named "Basics of Plasma Astrophysics" by Claudio Chiuderi and Marco Velli. While demonstrating Woltjer's Theorem they state ...
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36 views

For gravitational wave from twin stars, how was the tidal effect counted?

As the primary indirect evidence, the work on calculating the rotational slow down earned the 1993 Nobel prize. However, I cannot find any where mention how the work deal with the tidal effect. Are ...
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143 views

The Solar System explosion in the Nice model

This video depicts one variant of the Nice model (pronounced "neese", like the city in France). I'll briefly describe it in case the link ever dies. Here is the initial configuration: The four ...
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1answer
54 views

Does all the theoretical work of astrophysicists have to be confirmed by the observations of astronomers?

I am a chemist an I have some doubts about the work of astrophysicists. I know that astrophysicists do a lot of theoretical calculations based in other theoretical work and also based in real ...
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0answers
23 views

What's the cause of this gap in this simulation of the Nice model?

A previous question brought me to this video (which has a spectacular change at about 0:34). It shows the orbits of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and what appear to be trans-Neptunian objects. ...
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2answers
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How can a gas giant be about the same size but six times more massive than Jupiter?

I've just read this article: http://www.sci-news.com/astronomy/science-kepler-432b-new-super-jupiter-exoplanet-02490.html And I wondered how this could be possible? Maybe it's because this gas giant ...
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0answers
20 views

Solar System Snow Line: 5AU or 2.7AU?

I am trying to update the Wikipedia article "Frost Line (astrophysics)". During my last update (by QuantumShadow), I noticed that different sources cite different values for Solar System water ice ...
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2answers
320 views

What is the Sun's core made of?

The obvious answer is hydrogen and helium plasma but the nuclear fusion can also create heavier elements. Are these heavier elements a significant portion of the core? Do the heavier elements "sink" ...
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0answers
27 views

Density of an astrophysical ring of fluid around a star

*An equilibrium ring of isothermal fluid orbits a star at radius R. In the plane of the ring, mechanical equilibrium results from a balance of centrifugal force and the gravitational force of the ...
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0answers
22 views

Cosmological and astrophysical bounds on physics beyond SM [closed]

There are many cases when cosmological and astrophysical observations make restrictions on particle physics models. For example, some axion models are rejected by white dwarf luminocity functions, ...
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2answers
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Why has the amount of star formation in the Universe decreased over time?

If you like, refer to my old question from the last year, about star formation rates and their declining, answered by Rob Jeffries. I'm now examining why this process happens. It appears that in ...
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4answers
408 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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24 views

How much cheaper and smaller on average is SiPM technology over conventional PMTs?

I've heard it said that some of the major advantages of silicon photomultipliers are its low cost and compactness when compared to widely used photomultiplier tubes, but haven't found much information ...
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Modeling atmospheric reentry with respect to the rotation of a planet and its atmosphere in a simulation

I am creating a hard science fiction flight simulator. I am a civil engineering student, so its a little out of my area of study. Currently I model air resistance on the velocity difference between ...