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

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Observing Jupiter's non-Galilean moons

What strength of telescope is required to observe some of the non-Galilean moons of Jupiter? My current telescope at 50 magnification resolves the Galilean moons well, but I'm guessing it's far ...
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3answers
171 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
44 views

How do I use this 'Horizon Observatory'?

Just around the corner, we have one of these: It's at the Halde Hoheward (article in the German wikipedia), and it's called a 'Horizon Observatory' by the people who built it. How does it work ...
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566 views

What made us think that Earth moves around the Sun?

Trying to observe the night sky for a few weeks, the motion of the Sun and the stars pretty much fits into the Geocentric Theory i.e. All of them move around the Earth. What then, which particular ...
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486 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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247 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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764 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
914 views

For observing planets what kind of telescope offers the best view?

I've heard that using a refractor is better than a reflector when it comes to planets to best reproduce their colors. But perhaps other factors can weight in too? For example, do you want a slow or ...
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1k views

Can any telescope be used for solar observing?

Can any telescope, such as a 8" reflector, that is normally used at night to look at planets be used or adapted for solar observing? What kind of adapters or filters are required or is it better to ...
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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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1answer
153 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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239 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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462 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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48 views

Transit of Mercury: how did he see it?

On November 7, 1631 Pierre Gassendi saw the transit of Mercury across the face of the Sun. How did he see it? I mean what instrument was used to reduce the apparent brightness of the Sun?
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1answer
337 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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2answers
206 views

If you focus in on one image, is combining two telescopes really equivalent to a larger mirror?

Have a look at this example: In addition, the Keck I and Keck II telescopes can work together as the Keck Interferometer. The 85-metre (279 ft) separation between the two telescopes gives them the ...
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990 views

What are the differences in using an eyepiece with a barlow instead of a shorter eyepiece?

I intend to start making visual observations, and I want to know more about the difference between using barlow lenses and one or two eyepieces and using a complete kit of eyepieces, both for ...
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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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96 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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185 views

Why is the Hubble Space telescope able to see farthest in the universe?

What determines how far a telescope can see in the universe? How does recording data for a very long time (~10 years) help? If we could build a telescope which work at microwave region, will it be a ...
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1answer
88 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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2answers
648 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
58 views

Best observing techniques for a Total Lunar Eclipse?

Is there any good tricks to observing a total lunar eclipse that I should be aware of? Just wanting to know what to do to be prepared for the upcoming one, but please post in general for future ...
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1answer
290 views

What is the status of existing measurements of the speed of gravity?

In replying to a recent question I stated: Gravitational waves have not been yet experimentally observed so as to have their velocity measured. Which after the fact prompted me to try and verify ...
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1answer
63 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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95 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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6answers
161 views

What possible science could we do during the 2012 Venus transit? [closed]

I had previously asked about how useful everyday solar physics data is to other astronomers ... But about a year from now, we will have another Venus transit, where Venus will pass between the sun and ...
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3answers
465 views

How far are constellations recognizable?

A novel of the 'Foundation' series mentioned that the universe being 3-D the shape of a constellation is recognizable only in the near vicinity of a given planet. In other words move out from the ...
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346 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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5answers
460 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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1answer
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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97 views

How long would it take to scan the visible universe for unique signals?

The article Amazing rays as star succumbs to dark side talks about a very large black hole swallowing up a star. The report goes on to say that the only reason it was discovered was because it shot ...
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2answers
240 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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450 views

How is the Hanbury-Brown and Twiss effect used to measure the size of stars?

I understand what an Hanbury Brown and Twiss (HBT) interferometer does, but how can this be used to measure the apparent angular diameter of some object? What is the mathematical explaination?
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28 views

Are solar physics images of use to the night-time community?

I'm actually interested in cases of cross-discipline data re-use. I know that the SOHO/LASCO coronographs are used for comet finding, that solar telescopes were used to get information about Venus's ...
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154 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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1answer
140 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
44 views

Missing radio source coordinates in G/T measurement technique ITU-R S.733.2

Section 3 ‘Suitable radio stars’ of this recommendation lists the different stars/nebula and their corresponding flux-densities that can be used in the G/T measurement. There is no reference to the ...
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1answer
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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72 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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2answers
813 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
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 ...
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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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2answers
285 views

Why is the dark matter density profile within the solar radius (and local density) uncertain?

It seems that we know the rotation curve inside the sun's galactic orbit fairly accurately. Then wouldn't we be able to just take the derivative* of this to get the DM density profile at smaller ...
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105 views

If the observable universe keeps expanding would we eventualy see light 24/7… clouds permiting? [duplicate]

If we can see more observable universe could there be a time when day and night looked the same?
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184 views

The Bahtinov focusing mask

I'm looking for a webpage or a book or reference that might give me a better (and hopefully more scientific) understanding of how the Bahtinov mask works (which I understand to be the same as ...
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1answer
82 views

What is the format for “local catalog” files used by JSkyCat?

I am trying to use JSkyCat to mark a set of coordinates on a FITS image, and have found the dialog for choosing a catalog file to load. However, I am having trouble finding any documentation on what ...
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1answer
218 views

Error analysis of flux from telescope-CCD setup (photometric calibration)

I am doing photometric calibration of a telescope and am trying to work out the errors on the flux that I measure. I have attempted to work out the errors due to the process of removing bias, dark ...
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2answers
65 views

Particular targets of high angular resolution infrared telescopes

I work in the field of infrared interferometry, specifically instrumentation. As such, I need to be aware of the science goals of such an instrument. Is there a quick list of important and ...
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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 ...