The tag has no usage guidance.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

42
votes
7answers
2k views

Photons from stars--how do they fill in such large angular distances?

It would seem that far-away stars are at such a distance that I should be able to take a step to the side and not have the star's photons hit my eye. How do stars release so many photons to fill in ...
19
votes
4answers
10k views

How do astronomers measure the distance to a star or other celestial object?

How do scientists measure the distance between objects in space? For example, Alpha Centauri is 4.3 light years away.
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Why are so many forces explainable using inverse squares when space is three dimensional?

It seems paradoxical that the strength of so many phenomena (Newtonian gravity, Coulomb force) are calculable by the inverse square of distance. However, since volume is determined by three ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does one get an illusion as moon following him?

When you run or ride bike at night if you observe the moon you feel like he moves along with you as the same speed you are going. Why?
14
votes
7answers
3k views

Flat throw vs 45 degree throw of a ball

Why does my sports coach tell me that when I'm fielding I should throw the baseball 'flat' to get the maximum distance? I thought from physics that you get the most distance from throwing at a 45 ...
10
votes
0answers
483 views

Why does the moon look bigger at the horizon? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why does the moon sometimes appear giant and a orange red color near the horizon? Why does the moon look bigger at horizon or skyline than at other times e.g. at ...
8
votes
8answers
4k views

Can you completely explain acceleration to me?

I understand what acceleration is, and I know the formula, and I understand it's a vector. I just don't understand how the equation works exactly. I'm kind of picky, I know, but bear with me. ...
7
votes
2answers
7k views

How could scientists know how far a star or galaxy is from us?

How do astronomers measure how far a star (or galaxy) is away from the earth? How would they know that it has taken 13 million years for light to travel in space before it reaches us?
7
votes
1answer
1k views

The physics behind Google Glass' “prism”

In writing a bachelor's thesis about applicable use cases for Google Glass in retail I also strive to explain the physics behind Glass' optics. So far I've come to the following conclusions: Glass ...
6
votes
5answers
802 views

How is distance measured to far away stars and galaxies?

What I need is an accurate description of the methods used to determine the distance to Andromeda. The Parallax method is for nearby objects as I presume. The red shift method applies, but how do you ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

How do you measure distance to stars within the galaxy?

I know that for close by stars (<50 LY) we can use the parallax effect. And for distant galaxies we use red-shift (& hubble's constant). So how do we measure how far is a star lets say 50,000 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Is length/distance a vector?

I have heard that area is a vector quantity in 3 dimensions, e.g. this Phys.SE post, what about the length/distance? Since area is the product of two lengths, does this mean that length is also a ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Most accurate ways to find the average distance between stars in Milky way galaxy

I've already posted here on quora. But, I'm not totally sure if it's the most reasonable method. Would anyone care to elaborate on how to find the average distance between stars in a given galaxy ...
5
votes
1answer
202 views

Does length contraction affect travel time?

If an astronaut leaves planet $A$ for planet $B$ at speed $v$, will the time (measured by the astronaut's clock) that it takes for the astronaut to reach planet $B$ be less than the distance between ...
5
votes
2answers
176 views

When did we learn that stars die?

As we all know, the stars we see in the night sky might already be dead. I was wondering though, when was this fact or conclusion commonly established? Today, most people (let's assume with an above ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Work = Force x Distance vs Displacement

The difference in using Distance vs Displacement is demonstrated in this example: Work = Force x Distance If I carry an object to and fro 10 metres, the work done would be Force x 20 metres. ...
4
votes
2answers
285 views

How were the ratios of distances between planets and the Sun first calculated?

I was reading some literature and I found that long before the actual distances between other planets and Earth or distance between Sun and Earth were known, physicists had calculated the ratios ...
4
votes
3answers
463 views

In relativity, what is the difference between a rod that is perpendicular to direction of motion and a rod parallel to the direction of motion?

In Feynman's Lectures on Physics , chapter 15, page 6 he writes about 2 identical, synchronized light signal clocks. These are clocks that consist of a rod (meter stick) with a mirror at each end, and ...
3
votes
1answer
574 views

How far do air particles move when a sound wave passes through them?

How far do air particles move when a sound wave passes through them? I know that they don't actually travel, the question is how far do they oscillate or what is the physical amplitude of the ...
3
votes
1answer
146 views

A problem with a basic thought experiment in Special Relativity

This is for a class on special relativity I am to give to some school children. Moe is moving at 0.9c. At the instant he passed Joe he emits a flash of light. One microsecond later, Joe(at rest) ...
3
votes
1answer
108 views

Do we actually measure distances in light years?

The cosmic distance ladder has a wide range of length scales, which are quite difficult to measure and to conceptualize. These distances are commonly quoted, particularly in less technical articles, ...
3
votes
2answers
70 views

How are the distances to the most distant $\gamma$-ray bursts measured?

This question came to my mind when I read on NASA's website that an explosion (gamma ray burst, GRB 080913) took place 12.8 billion light years away from us. How do they measure such large distances?
3
votes
2answers
163 views

Classical electrodynamics formulated in terms of forces

The Newton's law of universal gravitation is described in terms of a force, which is produced by an action at a distance. It also can be described using the concept of a field, and that would be an ...
3
votes
2answers
260 views

How much more energy would I spend if my bicycle was 2 kilos heavier? [closed]

I have a bicycle weighing 8 kilos. An 10 kilometer ride averaging 20 km/h requires z kWh's of energy. How much more energy would I spend if I added 2 kilos to my ...
3
votes
1answer
529 views

How do I find the initial velocity in this problem?

An X-ray tube gives electrons constant acceleration over a distance of $20\text{ cm}$. If their final speed is $2.0\times 10^7\text{ m/s}$, what are the electrons' acceleration? I know this ...
3
votes
1answer
53 views

Distance between two galaxies of different redshift

Let $Q_1$ and $Q_2$ two different objects in the Universe (we can think to two galaxies or quasars), that we observe from the Earth at different angular position $(\alpha_1,\delta_1)$, ...
3
votes
0answers
92 views

What is the maximum range of a bullet flying through the sky? [closed]

How far would my bullet fly with the following characteristics? 1.2km/second initial velocity 45 degree angle into the sky 'Normal' atmospheric conditions No wind Typical high-powered rifles have ...
2
votes
2answers
149 views

Spot of my light on the moon

This is a funny question, but worth answering. The distance between the moon and the Earth is 384,400 km. The speed of light is 299792.458 km/s. It will take 1.3 seconds (Approx.) for my laser beam to ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

Measuring more accurately the distance of remote galaxies

From what I read in Wikipedia, the velocity of a Galaxy has two components: one is due to Hubble's law for cosmic expansion, and the other is the peculiar velocity of the galaxy. Since the peculiar ...
2
votes
1answer
47 views

Does the line integral definition of Work involve distance or displacement?

My textbook reports the following definition of Work: where ds is the infinitesimal displacement. I know that an infinitesimal displacement is usually denoted by dr and I also know that the ...
2
votes
2answers
146 views

How is time distributed through space?

I was greatly confused when I saw video saying that if two wormholes were separated by time instead of distance, it would allow time travel. My question is what did they mean by this statement? What ...
2
votes
4answers
98 views

Why do object appear smaller when it is further away?

This might have nothing to do with physics but why does the size of an object change when it is further away from me compared to when it is closer to me? Can someone perhaps explain this through an ...
2
votes
1answer
357 views

Difference between Gunn Peterson trough and the Lyman Alpha Forest? Cosmological implications?

I'm having difficulty understanding the full implications of the Lyman alpha forest and its use in cosmology. My understanding is this: we detect features in the Intergalactic Medium (IGM) by very ...
2
votes
3answers
369 views

Will an un-scattered photon go to the edge of the universe? [duplicate]

Will an unhindered (un-scattered) photon go to the edge of the universe?
2
votes
2answers
511 views

Which is smallest distance measurement which makes sense talking about [duplicate]

This might seem a silly question, but here it goes: Of all possible values for a measure of distance, which is the smallest that makes sense talking about? I mean, I could talk about $10^{-100000}$ ...
2
votes
1answer
100 views

random particles on a grid: Effect of increasing density on distance between them

Say I have two boxes which both contain, say, 25 red particles (as shown in picture). These particles are randomly placed in a 2d grid, and in one the total area $A_{1}=20000$ and the other has area ...
2
votes
3answers
123 views

How to calculate the velocity of this body? [closed]

Graph of a train (the body) is provided which starts from rest. What is the velocity after the train has 10 metres displacement? Thats the only things provided for the question, please help me ...
2
votes
1answer
13k views

Need help with the position of a particle in a velocity-versus-time graph

I am having trouble with a velocity-versus-time graph. I recently took a Physics test that asked this question: The graph shows the velocity versus time for a particle moving along the $x$ axis. The ...
2
votes
1answer
106 views

How can I set up an equation for distance traveled for a rubber band powered car?

I am to make a rubber band powered car, and I have to maximize it's distance traveled. The time taken to reach said distance, top speed of the car, acceleration of the car, is not relevant. I just ...
2
votes
1answer
74 views

How the distance and diameter of the stars are experimentally measured?

How to measure the distance of a star and the diameter of it from earth based tools? Normally we can measure the angle between the stars edge. But diameter or distance needed to measure the other ...
2
votes
1answer
66 views

Distance from redshift

I am looking for a exact derivation of a relation between redshift $z$ and distance $d$. What I know is the definition ...
2
votes
2answers
237 views

How to calculate error of parallax and sextant based navigation?

First of all, why wasn't the sextant ever used for land navigation? The horizon is easier to see at sea, but land based sextants could be used in conjunction with artificial horizons (as at sea when ...
1
vote
3answers
554 views

Calculate vertical distance using acceleration

I have the following scenario: an iPhone is connected to a vertical rail (it's motion is restricted to the Y axis). Through mechanical means the phone is forced upwards and then allowed to return to ...
1
vote
1answer
152 views

Is there a finite unit of distance that we cannot divide past?

If distance could be divided into an infinite no of units or points, then it seems to me that motion would be impossible since a meter for instance, having an infinite no of points within it (and the ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Calculate the distance between two points from iPhone Camera

I want to calculate the distance between two objects using an iPhone camera. Suppose I'm standing with my iPhone 10 feet away from the objects. Now, I want to calculate the distance between those ...
1
vote
1answer
689 views

What is the apparent diameter of the sun as seen from earth?

I know this may not be physically accurate. For my purposes, basically 3D renders, I am assuming the sun rays are parallel rays from an infinitely far lamp. If the sky is clear, what size would that ...
1
vote
2answers
41 views

Is it possible to calculate the dimensions of ANY object in a picture having at some known distance an object on know dimensions?

Is it possible to calculate the dimensions of ANY object in a picture having at some known distance an object on know dimensions? I'm thinking about the scenario where someone is holding a smartphone ...
1
vote
2answers
99 views

Force when distance between charge is zero

According to coulomb law $$ F = \frac{q_1q_2}{r^2} $$ I want to know what happens to force when $r=0$. If $F \to \infty$ then the charges can't be separated! But if an unlike charge of higher ...
1
vote
2answers
94 views

Speed of light and distance

Our measure of distance (the meter) is defined in terms of how far light in a vacuum travels in a specific time. When light travels through another medium, we say it travels at a different speed. Why ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

Luminosity distance from angular diameter distance

Consider that I know the cosmological angular diameter distance at a given redshift : $$D_{A}\left(z\right)=\frac{x_{object}}{\theta_{observer}}$$ Is there a general formula to compute the ...