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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

2
votes
3answers
2k views

Artificial planetary magnetic field

I wonder how difficult it is to create an artificial planetary magnetic field with generators? What power they would need? The question is inspired by thinking about possible colonization of ...
0
votes
1answer
14 views

What is the relation between Rössler attractor and thin accretion discs (like in the movie Interstellar)?

Is there any relationship between the Rössler attractor and thin accretion disks, like the accretion disk(s) in the movie Interstellar?
1
vote
0answers
24 views

Type II supernovae explosions

I'm quite confused about the explosion of a Type II supernova. As far as I understand, when the Fe-56 core has been created, and the star has all the other layers around it, it starts to collapse, ...
2
votes
1answer
39 views

Exoplanet Mass-Radius Diagram

I'm currently studying the following diagram: But I'm not entirely sure I understand what's going on. Is it just, that most exoplanets discovered, is pretty much made up of Hydrogen and Helium ? ...
0
votes
1answer
80 views

A Theory of Almost Everything? [on hold]

Before I present this theory, I ask that you take the time to read this disclaimer. I do not claim to have an excellent knowledge of physics, it is actually rather limited. Therefore, I am not ...
2
votes
1answer
28 views

Electron degeneracy and helium flashes in stars

I have a question regarding the above mentioned. When a star have a mass of about 3-8 it does not go through the so-called helium flash phase, but instead just run along as nothing had happened, turn ...
0
votes
0answers
12 views

Does the density of matter increase as we approach the big bang? [duplicate]

I am interested in knowing whether it is clear (undisputed) that the density of matter/energy increases as we approach the time of the big bang? Does this follow from the FLRW metric?
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

Why does orbiting matter form an accretion 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
62 views

Can we solve most of the cosmological questions using the Illustris universe simulation?

The Illustris project (http://illustris-project.org) attempts to simulate the universe in its most accurate form according to their website. With the simulation, they were able to predict the neutral ...
0
votes
1answer
25 views

Planetary nebulae, thermal pulses and mass loss

I'm reading about planetary nebulae and how they are formed, but as is sometimes the case, I've gotten a little confused. So, I have a star, let's say 5 times the mass of the sun. At some point, when ...
1
vote
0answers
26 views

Why is the Great Dark Spot so shortliving unlike the Great Red Spot?

The Great Dark Spot is an anti-cyclone in Neptune. But unlike the Great Red Spot of Jupiter which lasts for more than hundred years, the Great Dark Spot exists for only one year or so. Why is it so??
2
votes
2answers
122 views

Why are galactic centers always brighter than the edges?

As you can see the image below and other galaxy images, the center is generally much brighter. Why is that? Is there a very big star? A very big gravitational field?
2
votes
1answer
62 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. ...
4
votes
1answer
121 views

Chemical and stellar evolution in stars

I'm having an exam soon where I have to discuss/describe the follow figure: It's the first figure I have to explain, and it was on the same slide as the one below, so I'm thinking they are somewhat ...
9
votes
3answers
205 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
155 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
votes
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
69 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
191 views

What is the largest number applicable to the universe? [closed]

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
129 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
206 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
49 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
54 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
votes
3answers
263 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
26 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
175 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
65 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
26 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
59 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
29 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
129 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
650 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
162 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
273 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 ...
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
57 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
640 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
60 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
484 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
41 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 ...