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

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How far has a 13.7 billion year old photon travelled

I've read that the size of the observable Universe is thought to be around ~46 billion light years, and that the light we see from the most distant galaxies were emitted ~13.7 billion years ago as a ...
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1answer
25 views

Mass of NGC 1097 Galaxy

I've been looking all over the internet for this and can't seem to find a reference. Can anyone refer me to a paper citing the mass of NGC 1097 based on luminosity?
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2answers
111 views

How do we estimate $10^{23}$ stars in the observable universe?

Now, I read somewhere, that there are $10^{23}$ stars in the observable universe. How did scientists estimate this?
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1answer
43 views

What fraction of baryonic matter is in stars?

We know from big bang nucleosynthesis that baryonic matter accounts for about 5% of the universe's total mass-energy density. What is the current best estimate of how much of this is in the form of ...
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15 views

Synthesising types of galaxies using various stellar spectra

I have been given the task of synthesising an elliptical galaxy, a starburst galaxy and a spiral galaxy (considering the arms and the bulge separately and adding them) using stellar spectra which I ...
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1answer
55 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 ...
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1answer
24 views

Interferometry works as a filter

I attended an astronomy seminar the other day and though I did not pick up much as it was on data collection etc, I did take away one sentence: "Interferometry works as a filter" Now I know what ...
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1answer
146 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
187 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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69 views

Do septuple (7), octuple (8) or nonuple (9) star system exist?

The highest I found so far is Castor, a sextuple star system. And there doesn't seem to be any other sextuple star system within at least 100 light-years...
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36 views

Do the different observed Type Ia supernovae have similar explosion energy?

I have been trying to read about the energetics of observed supernovae for some time. And while the observed core-collapse supernovae have many scientific papers about them trying to estimate the ...
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1answer
22 views

Optical interferometers resolution

I found this interesting list of optical interferometers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_astronomical_interferometers_at_visible_and_infrared_wavelengths But I can't understand which is the ...
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64 views

A question concerning the act of observing distant galaxies

The comoving radius of the observable universe is currently put at $46$ to $47$ billion light years. Source wikipedia. When we observe galaxies at great distance, such as the Hubble Deep Field at ...
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62 views

Sedna, VP113 and the likelihood of the PX/Tyche/Thelistos hypotheses

The recent discoveries in exoplanetary science (specially those findings of planets orbiting far far away from its parent star/stars) raise questions about how much we know about the (true, AIU ...
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1answer
340 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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76 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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28 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
127 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
59 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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174 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
32 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
80 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
107 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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508 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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26 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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1answer
72 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
108 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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825 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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247 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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33 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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19 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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44 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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1answer
102 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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55 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
64 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
453 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
853 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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574 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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1answer
170 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
674 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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1answer
63 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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70 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
267 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
491 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
166 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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53 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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735 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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1answer
153 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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96 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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1answer
112 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 ...