The methods and techniques for gathering astronomical data, as well as the limitations thereof.

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326 views

How is the mass of black hole at the center of our galaxy measured?

I've been watching a video about dark mater and a lot of the mass is missing in our universe. Astronomers got to this by measuring the speed that stars orbit the center of the galaxy and when they did ...
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67 views

Calculus used by Gauss to find Ceres' position?

With very little data, the great mathematician Gauss was able to predict the exact location of where to find the asteroid Ceres. If possible I would like a reconstruction of his work, from the data ...
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1answer
156 views

Analyse astronomical data

Recently I was told of a job offer to analyse astronomical data. The job offer states that they want somebody with knowledge of astronomical data analysis software and it will be a plus somebody who ...
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13 views

What's the evidence, if any, for some local concentration(s) of dark matter in some region(s) smaller than a galaxy?

What's the evidence, if any, for some local concentration(s) of dark matter in some region(s) smaller than a galaxy? Galactic-sized--or larger--gravitating halos seem to get all the attention. I'm ...
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2answers
110 views

Can a point source be located more accurately out-of-focus or in-focus?

Let's say I am taking a picture, and I know a priori that the image is of a single ideal point source of light at infinity. With a perfect imaging system in focus, the image shows an Airy disk. I ...
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1answer
37 views

How stellar aberration is measured?

A simple calculation shows that stellar aberration due orbital motion of earth is roughly 20 arcseconds. My questions are: Practically how this small value is measured? Does this value is in the ...
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3answers
168 views

Milky Way Voyeurism

When and where on earth do we get the best view of the Milky Way? I believe it helps if it is night if it is winter to look in the direction of the galaxy center I think that this information ...
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1answer
23 views

Why is solar eclipse so important for sunlight spectrum analysis?

People wait for decades to catch the chance of a solar eclipse to observe the sun. Why cannot they do it every noon?
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2answers
77 views

The reason(s) of seasons on earth

This maybe simple and usual question, although there is a lot of confusion about it over internet and even in some books, so I want from an astronomer / astrophysicist to fill the gaps for me ...
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1answer
70 views

How to practically find the RA-DEC coordinates of a star?

How are RA-DEC (Right Ascension & Declination) coordinates of a star measured i.e. if scientist spot a new star in the sky how do they accurately measure it's coordinates?
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424 views

How does nuclear war look like from space?

As today's the 29th anniversary of possible Armageddon, had Mutual Assured Destruction taken place, with the USA and USSR exchanging most of their nuclear arsenal, what would someone In low earth ...
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25 views

If the universe has a shape, what is the surface? [duplicate]

Since the idea of the universe was that it was expanding, is there a way to know the surface area of the universe like the growing 3D object it is illustrated? The idea was that the universe was ...
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71 views

How bright was the AGN eruption at the center of the Milky Way ~2 Ma ago?

The black hole at the center of the Milky Way is believed to have erupted as an active galactic nucleus (AGN) approximately 2 million years ago, at which time it would have been visible to early ...
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2answers
70 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 ...
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2answers
728 views

Is it possible that I just saw Jupiter's moons?

Today at about 18:00 I was looking for Venus near the moon and I saw a short bright line. I thought that maybe I was seeing Venus' crescent but it was perpendicular to the crescent of the moon. I then ...
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1answer
233 views

How was this dot identified as a mystery planet originally (Pluto in this case)?

I was watching a documentary on a mission to study Pluto. At 21:11, an image is presented with an arrow mark pointing a small dot which is now identified as Pluto. As there are hundreds of dots on ...
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30 views

How is the formula derived for finding the field of view given drift time and declination of a star?

How is the formula for field of view derived given the drift time of a star and its declination? $FOV = (drift\ time \cdot \cos(declination)\cdot360 ) / 86164$
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14 views

Velocity dispersion of galaxies

I couldn't find on web how can I get the velocity dispersion and velocity maps of galaxies from the 3D data cube I get from integral field spectrograph.
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40 views

Why can't Wetterich's “Universe without expansion” be tested compared to standard cosmological redshift?

I have read on several sites that this is a theory that cannot be tested. Why is this a theory that can not be tested? It seems to me that if the mass of particles is continually increasing, then the ...
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91 views

How did Kepler arrive at his laws?

How did Kepler arrive at his laws? If one already knows the distances to the planets (and the eccentricity of the orbits etc.) it is understandable how one might proceed to establish the second and ...
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41 views

Gamma ray bursts luminosity measurement

physicists use millisecond fluxes i.e.,fluxes calculated within a very short timescale to measure the actual 1 second flux for these grbs.But to do that they have to multiply the millisecond fluxes ...
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1answer
61 views

Relation between brightness and magnitude

Let say we measure the superficial brightness of an object in the $B$ band, $I_{B}$ measured in $\displaystyle\frac{L_{*}}{\mbox{pc}^2}$ where $L_{*}$ is solar luminosity and $\mbox{pc}$ is parsec. I ...
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1answer
224 views

Radians to Rotate Earth to Match ECI Lat/Lon with ECEF Lat/Lon

I am attempting to model GPS Satellite positions on the globe for a set of ephemerides. I have a verified set of ECI ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth-centered_inertial ) XYZ Coordinates and a ...
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2answers
779 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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3answers
454 views

Why do stars flicker?

Why do stars flicker and planets don't? At least this is what I've read online and seen on the night sky. I've heard that it has to do something with the fact that stars emit light and planets reflect ...
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148 views

What are the different ways to measure the spatial curvature of the universe?

Just what the question asks. Assuming the Friedmann-Rovertson-Walker (FRW) metric, what measurements can be performed to determine the spatial curvature of the universe.
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2answers
629 views

Planck satellite 2013 results impact on cosmological models

I've recently watched a "Through the Wormhole" episode from 2010 named "What Happened Before the Beginning?", where cyclic and ekpyrotic cosmological models are explained. In this episode the creators ...
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42 views

Is it possible to build an optical system that increases the perceived surface brightness?

So is it possbile to build a system from lenses and mirrors that can make faint gas nebulas brighter or can be used as nightvision? If you increase the size of the aperture of a telescope it will ...
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67 views

To what extent are the astronomically observed black hole candidates compatible with GR black holes?

Do they all fit Schwarzschild black holes? How people compare them with more complicate BH solutions as spinning BH solutions (even if they are not known analytically), say. I'd like more than ...
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2answers
231 views

Do green stars exists?

I asked a university lecturer why we don't observe green stars, and he said the blackbody curve averages at that frequency such that the cones in our eyes don't recognise it. I have a hunch that ...
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5answers
441 views

Could the speed of light change outside our solar system

Theory: The speed of light changes when it enters or exits the solar system due to a difference in medium (dark matter possibly). Potential problem 1: refraction If there was a speed change at the ...
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2answers
151 views

Will a telescope show a more magnified image if the object is brighter?

I have a small telescope which shows me the moon's craters a little bit magnified. Consider a situation where the moon is very very brighter than its current brightness, so that the telescope's ...
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44 views

Where can I get latest full updated list of supernovae candidates from the SDSS-II Supernova Survey?

I am doing a project where I need the list of supernovae candidates from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey II (SDSS-II) supernova survey. One list is available as part of the data-release-7 (DR7) website. ...
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2answers
514 views

What is the highest useful magnification todays largest telescopes can offer?

I know that the maximum (useful) magnification is limited by the diffraction limit, but I was not able to find numbers for the highest useful magnification factors using modern large telescopes. How ...
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129 views

Identifying the position of the moon

I encountered the following question in a previous year paper of a graduation-based test. On a certain night the moon in its waning phase was a half-moon. At midnight the moon will be (choose one ...
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1answer
85 views

How far can one look into space while relying on light in the visual spectrum?

Put the other way around. From how far does visible light reach the Earth to be observable by a telescope that operates in this spectrum? Gas clouds for instance absorb light. A star behind such a ...
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21 views

How I can measure the statistical errors of my catalog in Astronomy

I have a catalog including information about position, magnitude, and redshift of galaxies in one patch of sky. I need to be sure about the complementary of my catalog about detecting objects. How I ...
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111 views

When one can make telescope that can distuingish 1 mas?

When one can make telescope that can distuingish(angular resolution) 1 mas object by angular diameter? If already possible, tell the name of telescope/observatory. How to calculate angular resolution ...
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1answer
95 views

Are there rogue planets between Sun and Proxima Centauri?

Would we be able to detect (via emitted radiation, or its gravity) a rogue planet between us and Proxima Centauri? How big would that planet need to be?
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64 views

Rate of twinkling of stars

According to "Why do stars flicker?", the twinkling of stars (stellar scintillation) is caused by the thick layers of turbulent air in the Earth's atmosphere. While the explanation is convincing, it ...
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1answer
55 views

What is the minimum time period for constellations to change shape?

All stars are revolving around the center of galaxy. And so I wonder how long it takes before we can see any noticeable change in the shape of any constellation? What are the factors one will use to ...
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226 views

How can one get the eccentricity of the orbit of the Sun around center of the Milky Way?

How can one get the eccentricity of the orbit of the Sun around center of the Milky Way? Can it be measured?
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126 views

Why is there a line in the middle of the Planck full sky map?

Why there is a straight line (or perhaps a flat surface) in the middle of the Planck full sky map? and zoom (it makes it seem that the big bang was a collision between two unknown surfaces)
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1answer
324 views

How big of a telescope to view Gliese 581g in great detail?

I've always been interested in mega sized telescopes and how big they would have to be to see exoplanets in great detail. So, Gliese 581g is 22 light years away. Could we build a telescope in space ...
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3answers
344 views

Is it possible to take a picture of a star?

In this question I am not considering the sun, but only other stars. Stars are big, but they are also far away. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star The nearest star to the Earth, apart from the ...
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1answer
47 views

Dimensions of a variable celestial body?

I read (extern link to a filehoster, page 163 section 4.8) that a variable celestial object like a pulsar or quasar must be smaller than the distance the light travels in its variation period. Can ...
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144 views

How do I obtain the Point Spread Function (PSF) of a ground telescope?

I have some galaxy kinematic maps (velocity maps) extracted from Integral Field Spectroscopy (IFS) datacubes. Like any observation data coming from a ground telescope, these velocity maps include (ie: ...
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3answers
122 views

How is the distance to a $\gamma \mathrm{-ray}$ burst (GRB) measured in just a few days?

Recently the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope recorded the most energetic Gamma Ray burst (GRB 130427A) yet observed with a peak $\gamma \mathrm{-ray}$ energy of $94\, \mathrm{GeV}$. Various sources ...
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4answers
2k views

View of the Sun from Voyager 1

Today Voyager 1 is approximately 122 AU distance from the Sun. What does the sun look like from this distance? How much brighter does the sun appear to the naked eye compared to other stars in the ...
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360 views

I want the Saturn's position in terms of Declination and Right Ascension?

I want the Saturn's position in terms of Declination and Right Ascension for a couple of month in the interval of 1 hour in a text file to do a simulation. Which site can provide me these data? Or, ...