Celestial body that orbits following an elliptical path around a star or stellar remnant.

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653 views

Would a Helium powered balloon vehicle work on Mars?

Would a Helium powered balloon vehicle work on Mars? Things that might need to be answered: How much liquidHelium would you need to pack in order to fill a balloon with enough helium gas to travel ...
2
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1answer
125 views

How should I be thinking about tides?

I am working on a project for physics that involves tides. This is my current mind set when thinking about tides: The earth applies a gravitational force on some mass ...
3
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1answer
1k views

How gravitation effect on tides

I know that tide is caused by the gravitational pull of moon but what I don't know is how it effects on water. I have actually these doubts. Why does gravity of the moon creates tides only in water? ...
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5answers
301 views

Age of universe estimates

I was recently involved in a discussion on a sister site regarding how tightly coupled Physics is with the age of the Universe (and Earth). I believe that the Earth and the Universe are both billions ...
5
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3answers
1k views

How do the Planets and Sun get their initial rotation?

How do the Planets and Sun get their initial rotation? Why do Venus and Mercury rotate so slowly compared to other planets and why does Venus rotate in a different direction to Mercury, Earth and ...
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2answers
1k views

How to correct flares and sharply focus on my telescope when viewing planets.

A month or two ago I purchased a “Skywatcher Explorer 130P Newtonian Reflector” telescope - which so far is brilliant when looking at the Moon, esp. using a neutral density filter. However, when ...
5
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3answers
4k views

Lowest gravity on Earth's surface?

I am trying to determine which on Earth's surface has the lowest gravity. Googling is not finding anything concrete. My natural inclination would be to think of Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador, being on ...
2
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2answers
583 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 ...
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1answer
131 views

How can you calculate the exact position of the Earth taking into account the gravitational attraction of Mars and the Sun?

I think there must be a formula to calculate the exact position of the Earth taking into account the gravitational attraction of Mars and the Sun. Is it possible with vectors?
3
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2answers
144 views

How does gravity behave outside the geoid?

I was watching a program about the geoid recently and the relative "height" of the Himalayan plateau gave me an idea. It makes sense for the geoid to be "highest" (is that the correct term?) there as ...
9
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1answer
18 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
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1answer
615 views

Falling into Saturn or Jupiter, would we pass through it until we hit the nucleus?

If we fall into Saturn or Jupiter, would we pass through it until we hit the nucleus? Or would we hit the surface and stop there?
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3answers
1k 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 ...
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3answers
1k 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 ...
4
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1answer
252 views

Does the Moon's orbital inclination follow the wobble in the Earth's rotation?

As the Earth wobbles during rotation, does the higher gravity at the equator tend to pull the moon toward an equatorial orbit even as the earth does that thousands of years wobble cycle? It would ...
5
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1answer
2k views

What would happen to Earth if Saturn were to exit the Solar System?

Suppose Saturn simply vanished. How would that affect the rest of the Solar System, specifically Earth?
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5answers
731 views

Computing Planetary Positions

Shortly, I will be beginning my third year at University in Computer Science, I am a software developer and I will be required to work on a final year project. My idea for my final year project is ...
6
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1answer
152 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 ...
3
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1answer
162 views

Keeping air in a well

Let's say I've got an Earth-like planet with no atmosphere: it's just a barren ball of rock. I want to live there, but I don't like domes, so instead I'm just going to dig a big hole and let gravity ...
8
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1answer
135 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 - ...
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1answer
721 views

Altering Venus rotational speed to match Earth's via weather manipulation

Venus rotates approximately 6.5 km an hour Earth rotates approximately 1650 km/h how fast could we speed up Venus's rotation via only weather manipulation ( maybe a giant fractal lens between Venus ...
2
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1answer
98 views

Synchronising the Earth's rotation via mass redistribution

How much material would have to be moved per year from mountain-tops to valleys in order to keep the Earth's rotation synchronised with UTC, thus removing the need for leap seconds to be periodically ...
9
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1answer
162 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 ...
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3answers
170 views

Earth's stationary iron core

Why is the earth's iron core stationary, while the liquid matal circles around it creating the magnetic shield. Don't understand how can the entire planet rotate where as the planet's center is ...
15
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2answers
442 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 ...
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2answers
134 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 ...
4
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1answer
631 views

Radial fall in a Newtonian gravitational field [duplicate]

Suppose an object of mass $m$ starts at rest at a radial distance $ r_0$ from a perfectly spherical mass $M$ (where $m << M$), $r_0 > R =$ radius of $M$. Can we analytically determine when ...
3
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1answer
83 views

Cassini: What information could be gained from the 2017 impact with Saturn?

First of all: Will Cassini be operational in 2017 (pending no unforeseen equipment failures)? Power Communications ... What information could we gain? Properties of Saturn How to build more ...
8
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1answer
968 views

How big (compared to our moon) would Saturn look from Titan's surface?

How large in the night sky would Saturn look from Titan's surface? I believe they are tidally locked.
27
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3answers
2k views

Why do the planets' orbital distances fall on an exponential curve?

Background: I was recently reading a book on the planets to my son and I noticed a pattern in the distributions of the planets. The planets' distances roughly follow an exponential distribution. ...
12
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2answers
12k 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 ...
12
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5answers
10k views

How does gravity work underground?

Would the effect of gravity on me change if I were to dig a very deep hole and stand in it? If so, how would it change? Am I more likely to be pulled downwards, or pulled towards the edges of the ...
2
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1answer
5k views

How long does it take for radio or light waves to travel from Earth to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto?

I know it roughly takes 20 minutes from Earth to Mars, and 8 minutes from the Sun to Earth, but don't know how long for the other planets on my list.
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1answer
1k views

How many Pluto sized planetoids have been discovered?

How many planetoids have been discovered that are, say, 50% the size of Pluto or larger? Where are they? Incidentally, what is the difference between a planet, a planetoid, and an asteroid?
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2answers
99 views

Lumped circuit model of Earth and Sun as a thermal system

I want to design a thermal model of the Sun heating up the Earth. The circuit below is my own design (I don't know if there is a better way to model it. If there is, please tell me.). I want to ...
7
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1answer
93 views

How plausible is a subsurface ocean on Pluto?

According to this article on physorg.com, it's likely that Pluto has a subsurface ocean of liquid water. It suggests that the ocean would be about 165 km deep, under an equally deep crust of solid ...
4
votes
6answers
826 views

Why does the Earth rotate? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why does every thing spin? So why would the Earth, or any planet for that matter, rotate along an axis? I know of no force which could come into play here, so i assume ...
6
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1answer
29 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 ...
2
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3answers
19 views

Does anybody actually do astrometry in the 21st century?

I mean the nitty-gritty measurements of positions of stars and planets using transit circles. The transit instruments I've seen are mostly in national observatories and are essentially museum pieces: ...
2
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0answers
461 views

How do I find equations for the distance of the planets relative to one another?

I know I should be able to piece together some basic Newtonian equations for this, but I'm not sure where to start. I want to be able to choose one planet as the center and calculate its distance ...
4
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3answers
852 views

How to concisely explain apparent retrograde motions of planets?

Some planetary orbits occasionally can appear to move backwards to an observer on the Earth? Does anyone know concise, clear, web-based visualizations, animations or tutorials that clearly show how ...
6
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1answer
51 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?
3
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2answers
265 views

2012: Is there some astronomical event happening?

The news media has publicized that 2012 is the end of the Mayan calendar, and that all the planets will be aligned. Is there any truth to this?
5
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2answers
49 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
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1answer
670 views

Why does Jupiter emit more energy than it receives?

I hear that Jupiter and Saturn emit more energy than they receive from the Sun. This excess energy is supposedly due to contraction. Is this accepted as fact (or is it controversial)? Does this ...
14
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2answers
2k views

Why Aren't Saturn's Rings Clumping into Moons?

While reading with my son about how a Mars-like planet collided with the early Earth that resulted in our current moon, it said the initial debris also formed a ring, but that ring ended up getting ...
3
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2answers
50 views

How could they tell things weigh a sixth of their “Earth weight” on the moon?

I frequently keep hearing stuff about "gravity on the moon is only a sixth of that as Earth's" and "of course you'll weigh more on Jupiter". I do know the relative sizes of those bodies allow for ...
6
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1answer
129 views

Will Neptune change Pluto's orbit some day?

My seven-year-old son loves astronomy-- so much so that we read space books before bed time. One of our books talks about Pluto's orbit crossing over Neptune's orbit and will be (or is) closer to the ...
10
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1answer
3k views

How do we know the temperature on the planets?

I was watching a show and they were saying that the temperature of Pluto (I know it is not a planet) is about -300 degrees. I know that depends where in the orbit Pluto is, but how do we determine ...
8
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3answers
580 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.