Massive systems held together by gravitational attraction, consisting of stellar associations, star systems, star clusters and types of interstellar clouds, stellar remnants, gasses, cosmic dust and an important but not yet completely understood component called dark matter.

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How far apart are galaxies on average? If galaxies were the size of peas, how many would be in a cubic meter?

The actual number: How far apart are galaxies on average? An attempt to visualize such a thing: If galaxies were the size of peas, how many would be in a cubic meter?
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244 views

How do we know for certain that space is expanding?

How do we know for certain that space is expanding? Let's say that in the year 1950, we observe that galaxy 1 is 5 billion light years away from us and galaxy 2 is 10 billion light years away from ...
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451 views

What is the frequency of occurrence of stellar classifications off the HR main-sequence?

An alternative version of this question would be: "if was to pick a star from the $10^{11}$ or so in our galaxy at random, what are the probabilities of it being various kinds of star?" (and I do mean ...
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279 views

Does conformal gravity explain the Bullet cluster lensing effects?

Conformal gravity is an "alternative" theory of gravity, where instead of using the Einstein-Hilbert action composed of the Ricci scalar, the square of the conformal Weyl tensor is used. It was ...
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221 views

Why are distant galaxies not actually tiny bits of matter?

Distant galaxies are said to be moving away from the Milky Way (and us) at speeds approaching the speed of light. Since Special Relativity tells us that any object moving away from us at a velocity of ...
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34 views

Research on galaxy “stiffness”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Are galactic stars spiraling inwards? Has there been any research on the effects of interstellar gravitational attraction that would make collective star motion in a ...
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1answer
110 views

Dark Matter and Rotational Velocity Curves of Galaxies and Stellar Systems

The way dark matter is introduced to documentary watchers such as myself is to account for the difference between the rotational velocity of the stars in a galaxy compared to that of planets in ...
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4answers
447 views

Are galactic stars spiraling inwards?

Are the stars in our galaxy spiraling inwards towards the center, or are they in a permanent orbit? And if we are heading towards the center then what is the rate of this process? I started ...
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2answers
354 views

How Scientist Came to Know the Shape of our own galaxy without going out of it?

As far as I know, scientists have been able to see a lot of differently shaped galaxies in our visible universe through modern age telescopes. But I was wondering how it was possible to know how our ...
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300 views

Why doesn't my particle simulation end in a flat disc?

I've made a 3d particle simulator where particles are attracted to each other by the inverse of the square radius. The purpose of my experiment is to see if this alone would create a flat disk (like ...
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127 views

Why is the gas halo of the Milky Way so hot?

I have read on the webpage of NASA that there is a massive hot gas halo around our galaxy. Its temperature is between 100,000 and 1 million Kelvins or more. I do not understand why is it so hot. The ...
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609 views

Why the red-shift of distant galaxies is considered to be the effect of expanding spacetime?

Why it's not explained just by Doppler redshift caused by faster movement of those galaxies billions of years ago when that light was emitted? Would the speeds of the galaxies necessary for Doppler ...
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How can galaxies collide if everything moving outwards

If the universe started from Big Bang and everything is expanding outwards and actually accelerating away from each other, than "How is it possible for two galaxies to collide as they all are moving ...
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175 views

What is the Schechter luminosity function's domain of support?

I'm trying to fit a Schechter luminosity function to some data points, but it's not clear from this definition what the domain of support of the PDF should be. I'm familiar with the standard Pareto ...
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1answer
808 views

Does the large red shift value of galaxies mean they are far away?

When the red shifts of galaxies are large, why do we think that they are far away? I know about Hubble's law, Tully-Fisher relation of spiral galaxies, Faber-Jackson relation of elliptical ...
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275 views

Gravitation within galaxies

Do all galaxies radiate gravitational waves? What is the origin of these waves, the origin of the Galactic center? If it exists, do two galaxies warp together due to these waves, when they come ...
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38 views

Radiation from farther galaxies

I've read many facts from NASA's webpage.. Sometimes they tell, (for example) "NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory discovered this ultra-luminous X-Ray source (about 15 million LY) which shows an ...
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93 views

Why are galactic centers always brighter than the edges?

As you can see this image http://i.stack.imgur.com/YOt8C.jpg and other galaxy images, the centers generally much brighter. Why is that? Is there a very big star? A very big gravitational field?
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897 views

NED velocity to redshift conversion?

I've done some search with the Nasa Extragalactic Database (NED) and I have a very basic question about the velocity/redshift conversion. For example, for the first object of this page, we have ...
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2k 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?
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191 views

When would the proposed black hole at the centre of Milky Way gulp in our solar system? [duplicate]

I've heard and read that our solar system lies near to the peripheral region of the Galaxy. Then accordingly we would have a greater probability of sustaining to eventual gulping down by the ...
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141 views

Galaxies and projected radius vs arcmins

I have two sets of data (globular clusters), one for the Andromeda Galaxy and one for the Milky Way. I want to compare the distribution of globular clusters between the two galaxies according to ...
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2answers
97 views

Galaxies Center

It is believed (to my understanding) that at the center of all large galaxies are super massive black holes. Why is it then when you see photos of galaxies that the center is extremely bright if a ...
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Why are jets not commonly found in spiral galaxies?

Jets and radio lobes are generally associated with elliptical galaxies. Why not spirals?
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198 views

How much gas is in elliptical galaxies?

it is widely known that elliptical galaxies have little or no gas, but how is this determined? What is the amount of gas? Is there a decent ratio of stellar mass to gas for ellipticals? How does ...
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1answer
161 views

Population I and II stars

I have been thinking about the formation of the galaxy. I can easily understand that old, low-metallicity stars are in the halo, but I'm missing something when it comes to the disk. If ...
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4answers
413 views

What makes the stars that are farther from the nucleus of the galaxy go faster than those in the middle?

It has no sense that stars that have a bigger radius and apparently less angular speed($\omega$) goes faster than the ones near the center.
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Mass/light ratio of galaxies

I'm really stuck. I need to figure out the mass/light ratio of a galaxy in solar units. I know its mass is 5.7 x 1010 solar masses. I know its absolute magnitude (-17.3) and distance (29 Mpc). I'm ...
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Is there a correlation between the mass of a supermassive black hole and the mass of its host galaxy?

I would love to know! I can find lots about the mass-velocity dispersion relation. There's a mass-luminosity relation (but not really tight). I hope you can include references, as I'm spending ...
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716 views

Andromeda/Milky Way collision: How, and how accurately, can a galaxy's lateral velocity be measured?

Some sources suggest that the Andromeda Galaxy is likely to collide with our own in approximately 3 to 5 billion years. We can estimate the distance to the Andromeda Galaxy using various techniques, ...
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328 views

How will the super massive black hole affect our galaxy?

I've recently learned that the general consensus is that several (if not, most) galaxies have super massive black holes in their center, in particular the Milky Way. This, at least to me, makes ...
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2answers
802 views

At what distance could you see andromeda with the naked eye?

We've all seen the telescope photographs of andromeda galaxy: I'm wondering if it were possible to travel close enough to the andromeda galaxy could you achieve a same perspective with the naked ...
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1answer
377 views

Accuracy and assumptions in deriving the Tully-Fisher relation

I understand the mathematical derivation of the Tully Fisher relation from basic physics formulas, as shown on this site. However, after using the physics equations, it seems that several assumptions ...
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96 views

Why does Omega Centauri have a distinct chemical signature from the rest of the Milky Way?

In answering a question about the orbital path of Omega Centauri, I learned that it has a distinct chemical signature from the rest of the Milky Way. Basically, it is very rich in s-process elements, ...
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257 views

Why are there not many detectable supernovas?

Astronomers estimate that there are between 200 billion to 400 billion stars contained within the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy probably has 1 trillion stars. There may be around 500 billion galaxies ...
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Galaxies that are newer than our own one

Can we see any galaxies/stars that are newer than our own galaxy? As light takes (c) amount of times to reach us - so relatively speaking, light which would have left the newer galaxy (and far enough ...
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152 views

AGN accretion disk vs. torus

The torus is the donut of dust encircling the Active Galactic nucleus. The accretion disk is inside the torus. Is there a boundary between the two? At what point does a torus become an accretion ...
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1answer
48 views

How do we explain the phase change between high and low star formation rates?

During a recent talk I was at, someone, who models galaxy characteristics from dust amounts and spectral energy distributions (SEDs), quoted a fairly prompt change from 'high' to 'low' stellar ...
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211 views

Does the dark matter halo rotate with the galaxy?

If the dark matter halo is stationary related to the arms of the galaxy then tidal effects should slow the galaxy rotation. If it rotates with the normal matter in the galaxy then shouldn't it ...
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146 views

Relation between isophotal radius and virial radius in spiral galaxies?

Is there any (proposed) relation between the B-band isophotal radius of a spiral galaxy and its virial radius (r_200)? If you know of such a relation, please post a reference paper.
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84 views

Looking for a resource that explains all colors and shapes of stars and galaxies

I've been looking at some of the astronomy pictures of the day from NASA. They all have content that is indicative of certain situations or events. Supernovas have the scattered lines look, new stars ...
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438 views

Why do 3d spheres and gravity tend to rotating discs on one plane?

Whether is it our solar system or a whole galaxy, there is usually a massive object (star or black hole) at the centre with gas and objects rotating around it. The gravitational effect of the ...
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393 views

If we were to travel through space (sci-fi style), how close to the false-color images would the galaxies we see be?

I understand that the black-and-white images you see looking through a household telescope are only like that due to the intensity of the light that reaches us, and that most of the astronomy images ...
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1answer
93 views

Creating/Downloading a large Galaxy Dataset

I was wondering where I can get a more or less complete set of a galaxy to test an n-body simulation (preferably two colliding galaxies with approx 300k to 1M elements). Is it possible to extract ...
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5answers
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Is dark matter around the Milky Way spread in a spiral shape (or, in a different shape)?

Dark matter doesn't interact with electromagnetic radiation, but it, at least, participates in gravitational interactions as known from the discovery of dark matter. But does dark matter exist in a ...
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2k views

Which way do spiral galaxies rotate?

Is it known whether spiral galaxies typically (or exclusively?) rotate with the arms trailing or facing? Intuitively it feels weird to think of the arms as facing the direction of rotation, but ...
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2answers
54 views

Did physical models of galaxies come before they were actually observed?

Black holes were first predicted by astrophysics, then observed. Was the existence of galaxies first predicted by astrophysics, or first observed by astronomers?
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1k views

Density of stars near the center of the Milky Way

At night, I can look up and see the Milky Way across the sky. My question is, supposing our solar system was, instead of way out on an 'arm' of the galaxy, if we were near the galactic center. Would ...
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Why do galaxies collide? Reconciling dark energy and an expanding universe with the fact that some galaxies are on a collision course

My layman understanding of cosmology is: galaxies are uniformly (more or less) spread throughout the universe, per the Big Bang and the fact that in a central explosion, all dispersed points are ...
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108 views

What is the name of this galaxy in HCG7?

What is the name of the predominantly blue spiral galaxy at center-top of this image of Hickson Compact Group 7? I've found a few articles mentioning the group, but they never seem to list the names ...