1
vote
1answer
34 views

Planetary Systems

How does one know the correct position of planets in relation to the sun when viewing the solar system from different angles makes the appearance of the planets different? I would think that it would ...
0
votes
0answers
21 views

Is there a simple formula for calculating semimajor axis bounds of “habitable zone”?

I understand that an accurate determination of the bounds of the "habitable zone" for a given stellar system depends on a large number of factors, including many beyond characteristics of the parent ...
6
votes
1answer
119 views

What is the percentage of stars with planetary systems

We have discovered quite a number of exoplanets to date. The Kepler spacecraft has examined 150,000 stars and found 1,059 exoplanets. We know that Kepler, as well as all other exoplanet searches to ...
2
votes
1answer
137 views

When Venus is the brightest when viewed from Earth?

Nowadays Venus is very bright. I can spot it during broad daylight without problem. It's because it's near Earth and appear as a crescent. This made me think: as it's reaching the inferior ...
7
votes
3answers
152 views

Can a planet form before the parent star ignites?

I'm unable to find an answer to my questions via my searches. This questions pertains to the timeline of a star system creation. My question: During the creation of a star system, can satellite ...
0
votes
0answers
47 views

Why stars twinkle but planets don't? [duplicate]

I am not from a physics background. I came to know this while studying probability? Is this because the planets are nearer than the stars so we get average behaviour rather than random. Is law of ...
-5
votes
1answer
86 views

What would happen if the moon was in perpetual opposition of the sun [closed]

What would happen if an artificial force made the moon to stay at a perpetual opposition from the sun? Assume that the artificial force necessary is possible, and capable of making the moon stay at ...
0
votes
2answers
244 views

Planet in which satellite(moon) and star(sun) appear together once a year

With a hypothetical system, where the moon would be always on the opposite side of the planet than the sun, in a way that the moon would only be visible at night on the planet. I don't know if this ...
7
votes
1answer
762 views

Do all known planets and moons have magnetic field?

In this Wikipedia article it is stated, that magnetic field of Earth is caused by currents in her core. The same origin is for Jupiter magnetic field. For Moon (article) there is a magnetic field, ...
5
votes
1answer
271 views

What planets are visible to the naked eye from Mars?

Here on Earth we are blessed with being able to see some other planets, Mars & Venus etc, with the naked eye on a fairly regular basis thanks to the distance between the planets. What about from ...
4
votes
3answers
82 views

Length of day of a gas giant

How can the rotational speed, or the length of a day be determined or estimated in a planet which is composed entirely of non homogeneous fluids? There must be internal forces (pressure gradients, ...
12
votes
1answer
226 views

Relationship between Mars and Earth rotation

Is it by pure random chance that Mars and the Earth have nearly the same day duration (Mars day is barely 40 minutes longer, which is just 3% difference), or there is some causal relationship between ...
2
votes
1answer
728 views

Where to find the current positions and velocities of the planets?

I've written a program which simulates the motions of planets and other bodies. I'd like to run it on our own solar system, but to do so I need to know the current positions (preferably in ...
15
votes
2answers
444 views

How deep is the Great Red Spot?

The Great Red Spot (GRS) is a very persistent storm system that's easily visible through a telescope on the surface of Jupiter. But what is the three-dimensional structure of the GRS, and how deep ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Is it possible for the planets to align?

We've all heard the statement that on the 21st of December, the planets in the solar system will "align" from the point of view of the Earth. I assume this means that they would all be in the same ...
4
votes
1answer
180 views

What day/night cycles, climate and seasons would experience Alpha Centauri Bb inhabitants?

Alpha Centauri Bb is an exoplanet orbiting Alpha Centauri B. It is asserted that given the close distance to the star the planet should be tidally locked. The orbiting period of the planet is about ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Why are the orbits of the planets in our solar system along the same basic plane? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why are our planets in the solar system all on the same disc/plane/layer? After watching this video I realized that the orbits of the planets in our solar system ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

What is the relationship between mass, speed and distance of a planet orbiting the sun?

After reading this fascinating story about a new exoplanet, I was wondering about how mass, speed and distance determine a circular orbit of a planet around a star. Given the mass of the sun and ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

How do astronomers measure the distance of the planets from its star?

I know they have accurate means of measuring the distance of the planets in the Solar System from the Sun. I'm skeptical how can they use the same tools or techniques for other systems so far away as ...
4
votes
2answers
177 views

How could Horrocks have measured the AU?

I have always understood that the great historical significance of the transits of Venus, and the reason for the expeditions mounted to observe it, were that, by observing it simultaneously from two ...
5
votes
3answers
171 views

Why are planetary systems so rare?

According to this site there are 258 know planetary systems and 302 planets. Mostly each of the listed system has only 1 planet of Mercury's or Mars' size, while our system has up to 8 planets. From ...
1
vote
1answer
112 views

What's the amount of deviation of cellestial orbits from perfect ellipses

It's well known that the planets don't orbit the sun in perfect circles and the characteristics of the elliptical orbits which serve as better approximations to their motion have been calculated ...
2
votes
2answers
428 views

How can I visualize a gas giant?

From wikipedia Gas giants are commonly said to lack solid surfaces, but it is closer to the truth to say that they lack surfaces altogether since the gases that make them up simply become ...
8
votes
1answer
15 views

Ring height stats?

I'm working on a basic simulation system which will include planets with rings, I want to create dust and asteroids within a 3D ring but I'm struggling to find any stats on the sort of height ranges a ...
11
votes
3answers
866 views

Can you damage your eyes viewing Venus?

Whilst I know it is extremely dangerous to view the sun using a telescope (or even just looking directly at it for prolong periods) can you do permanent damage to your eyes looking at Venus through a ...
11
votes
3answers
997 views

Is it possible to see satellites with the naked eye?

Every now and then I notice some very bright "stars" in the sky. They tend to be very few (one or two, usually), and are quite much brighter than any other star out there. Often they're perfectly ...
6
votes
1answer
145 views

Frequency of nomad planets passing within 30 AU of the sun

A recent estimate by the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (a joint institute of Stanford and SLAC) is that there are circa 100000 times as many 'nomad planets' as stars I ...
8
votes
1answer
115 views

Biggest crater in the Solar System

It seems that the biggest crater in the Solar System is Borealis Basin on Mars. The Wikipedia entry and this piece of news say it has been formed by an impact with a body of around 1600 - ...
8
votes
1answer
139 views

Are Uranus and Neptune too big for their location?

So I was watching some TV, and I heard Dr. Plait mention that the planets Uranus and Neptune are too big to be located so far out in our solar system. Now, I heard his explanation on the show as to ...
14
votes
2answers
368 views

Why don't any of the gas giants have moons of Earth's mass (or greater) that orbit them? Is this generalizable to exoplanet gas giants?

Now, we know that the composition of the outer planets tend to contain a much higher ratio of ice over rock. [1] So the lack of Earth-like moons around the outer planets that this could be an artifact ...
2
votes
2answers
92 views

Interstellar bodies

As a solar system evolves the planets interact, and in trying to achieve a harmonious state some bodies are ejected. Space is big, but I have heard that some meteorites have been found with anomalous ...
12
votes
2answers
10k views

Is the moon a planet?

Can our moon qualify as a planet? With regard or without regard to the exact definition of the planet, can the moon be considered as planet as Mercury, Venus and Earth etc. not as the satellite of the ...
6
votes
1answer
26 views

Liquid Water in “mid-ice” on Europa. Mechanism?

Recently I read this entry by Dr. Phil Plait (a.k.a. The Bad Astronomer). He is talking about a lake of water contained within the ice layer of Europa. the lake is completely embedded in the ice ...
5
votes
2answers
41 views

Does Mercury have a balmy spot?

From Wikipedia: Although the daylight temperature at the surface of Mercury is generally extremely high, observations strongly suggest that ice exists on Mercury. Does that mean there could be a ...
8
votes
3answers
376 views

Are planetary orbits measured from the Sun's surface or centre?

I would imagine planetary orbits are measured from the Sun's centre and not its surface. Is that true? I can't find anywhere that actually states this.
0
votes
3answers
37 views

Why can't Jupiter be seen over Thanksgiving break?

As of these past few days, Jupiter can be seen in the sky, correct? Around Thanksgiving, why can't it be seen?
0
votes
1answer
195 views

Is water necessary for forming the sedimentary rocks found on Mars' surface?

So, I've just been reading a recent ScienceDaily article, and came across this interesting quote "Clays form in more neutral, less acidic conditions than the sulfate-rich sandstones we've been ...
6
votes
1answer
155 views

Axial Tilt and precession rate of exoplanets

The Earth's axis is 23.5 degrees away from othogonality to the ecliptic, and it takes about 26 000 years for it to precess fully. I have neither an intuitive sense nor the formula for precession ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the irregularity in Uranus' orbit that is caused by Neptune?

I carefully read the Wikipedia article Discovery of Neptune, and I don't get what the irregularity of Uranus orbit was that lead to the discovery of Neptune. Years ago, I watched some educational film ...
3
votes
1answer
161 views

How do the day/night temperature variations of moons compare to those of their planets?

Does the planet's eclipse have a significant impact on the flux of light hitting the moon? Does tidal locking have any effect on the day-night difference of the planet?
5
votes
3answers
978 views

Is a water world possible, and for how long could it be stable?

I have several questions regarding this topic. First, could a water world be stable for thousands of years with most of its surface remaining covered in water. What would it take for this to be ...
2
votes
1answer
103 views

Are the inner planets on planar orbits because there was more dust in the inner solar system (early on in planetary accretion)?

Question inspired by a question thread here. So when there's lots of dust in a galaxy, the galaxy tends to collapse into a spiral galaxy (to maintain angular momentum and to minimize gravitational ...
4
votes
1answer
51 views

Vesta dwarf planet status

Now that we have close-up photos of Vesta, which the IAU had previously said was a candidate dwarf planet, when is the IAU going to decide the issue? Personally, Vesta doesn't look round enough to me. ...
0
votes
2answers
63 views

Study of exoplanets reaching saturation point [closed]

In recent exoplanet meeting The Next 40 Years of Exoplanets, it was mentioned a few times that the field/topic is becoming saturated. In what ways is it becoming saturated, and can you see the effect ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

What would happen if the polar ice caps of Mars melted?

My dad told me that Mars' polar ice caps are made of H2O and CO2. If they melt, would it add an atmosphere to Mars and allow life?
7
votes
3answers
57 views

Is a rogue 'exoplanet' classed as a exoplanet?

Given that the term planet strictly (according to the IAU) refers to a body around the sun, rogue planets can't be called that, so I assume they must be called rogue exoplanets? But do they even ...
4
votes
6answers
154 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
177 views

How are newly discovered objects (stars, planets, galaxies…) named?

When a new astronomical object (star, planet, galaxy, comet, etc.) is discovered, what is the official procedure to name it? Who decides about the name of it? Can they be changed in time? Extra ...
9
votes
2answers
87 views

What are the prerequisites for considering any other planet to be habitable?

Well, there is a measure of how a planet could be considered like Earth, called Planetary habitability. Based on this measure, what are the prerequisites needed to consider a planet to be a habitable ...
2
votes
2answers
198 views

The size of the planets

What calculations were done to discover the size of all the planets?