Questions involving the physics of the universe, especially the nature of astronomical objects, energy fields, and/or regions, rather than their positions or motions in space.

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4
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2answers
113 views

Would a tablespoon of a neutron star remain intact?

I've heard people say that a tablespoon of neutron star would weigh over a billion tons. If we ever could take a tablespoon of one would it still remain intact with the same density?
2
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2answers
693 views

Circular formation around the moon

I have seen a large circular formation of cloud around the full moon sometimes. Have anyone seen the same? What is the reason behind this formation? Due to lunar attraction? Most of the sky is empty ...
3
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1answer
26 views

What happens to the Gas Pressure when working out the Eddington Luminosity?

I am looking at how the Eddington Luminosity is derived and I do no understand why we only care about $P_{rad}$? When working out $L_{Edd}$ you take the ratio between $dP_{rad}/dr$ and ...
0
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1answer
31 views

Can you assume atmosphere height for the purpose of surface pressure calculation?

Given that by definition of scale height an atmosphere thins by a factor of 1/e^x where x is elevation in terms of scale height multiples (See the table here: Definition of Scale Height), can we ...
7
votes
2answers
288 views

Open problems in astronomy that an amateur (with a PhD in some other field) would have a chance of solving?

What are some open problems in astronomy that an amateur would have a chance of solving? Suppose the amateur has a PhD in some other field, owns a basic telescope, a set of filters, diffraction ...
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0answers
24 views

Recombination question and arrow of time

Before recombination was there any present, past or future since photons were "trapped" and couldn't make that measurement possible?
1
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1answer
75 views

Gravitational pull needed to keep a gas in atmosphere

How can you determine the gravitational force needed to keep a particular gas in the atmosphere of a planet (for example, carbon dioxide (CO2))? I came across the following formula ...
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0answers
49 views

Angular momentum in planetary disk formation

Reading about the formation of planetary disks, one of the major problems, it seems like, is the evacuation of angular momentum. Aparently planets can't form with the amount o angular momentum the ...
1
vote
1answer
213 views

What happens to a white dwarf past the Chandrasekhar limit?

This is a multiple choice question I had trouble with on an exam. Will a white dwarf that has had too much mass piled on top of it a) undergo a thermonuclear flash and explode in a type IA supernova ...
2
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2answers
158 views

How would Jupiter's brightness relative to our sun seem to a remote observer (observing from a remote star)

Given that Jupiter is 5 AU from our sun and a remote observer viewing our solar system from some other part of our galaxy looks at it. We assume that Jupiter's radius is $11 \times 6700$ km. What ...
1
vote
1answer
84 views

What uncertainty does an error bar signify in astronomy?

When an astronomer talks about her/his topic and shows an X/Y-plot with error bars. What should one assume that those error bars represent? 1 standard deviation? Or 2? Or some specific significance ...
0
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0answers
55 views

Can an astronaut ever reach a Black Hole theoretically? [duplicate]

Ok, bear with me, while I try to explain the question I have. I read that time slows as we approach a black hole. So, suppose,theoretically, as astronaut is approaching a Black Hole. And he gets ...
-1
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1answer
77 views

Collision of two Earths

Assume that two Earth-like planets orbited the same star, with elliptic orbits. Eventually, something occurs that caused the two planets to collide. What would be the outcome of such a catastrophe? ...
1
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1answer
29 views

Exploiting symmetry in the axisymmetric Jeans equations

I'm solving the axisymmetric Jeans equations to determine the initial conditions for an exponential disk inside an NFW halo. The density profiles of the two components are \begin{equation} ...
2
votes
1answer
62 views

Where can I learn these Astrophysical techniques? [Read below]

Whenever I read any Astro papers in http://arxiv.org/ they usually talk about Data fitting or modelling or sentences like 'we fitted the spectral region by analytic functions i.e. by multi-component ...
2
votes
1answer
89 views

Is it accurate to say that we have a gravitational attraction towards all objects in the known universe?

Its probably small, but is there a theoretical gravitational attraction between all objects in the universe? Light can move pretty far, so does that mean gravity can as well, and is the gravity ...
8
votes
1answer
691 views

What causes the dimensions of a star increase when its hydrogen fuel is exhausted?

What causes the dimensions of a star increase when its hydrogen fuel is exhausted? For example, the Sun is expected to increase its radius 250 times. What causes this if its temperature is expected to ...
2
votes
2answers
70 views

Is there a lower limit for the altitude of orbiting objects?

As I understand it, one object can orbit another at a variety of altitudes, and the stability of the orbit is determined by (among other things) the speed of the orbiting object. Go too slowly and ...
-1
votes
1answer
54 views

Apocalypse on earth

What would it feel like on Earth if the Earth accelerated due to sudden changes in the solar system like ejection of another planet? Would there be giant tidal waves and other cataclysmic events?
-1
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2answers
94 views

What is the size of the universe.is it infinite? [duplicate]

What is the exact size of the universe.is it infinite?
2
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1answer
57 views

Using Tully Fisher to measure Distance Problem

Can anyone explain by looking at the solution in the pic, how did the cos (i) came about? I guess they are getting this from the major-minor axis info in the question, but I am not sure about the ...
1
vote
1answer
203 views

What is the Fundamental plane for Elliptical Galaxies?

An alternate explanation rather than from wikipedia is preferable.
4
votes
2answers
112 views

Assuming a sufficient amount of mass above the density threshold, does the actual concentration of the mass matter in creating a black hole?

I've heard that the actual density of a black hole (within the volume of the event horizon) is pretty low - does that mean that any sufficiently large volume of mass over that density is also a black ...
2
votes
1answer
77 views

If the speed at which the universe contracts in reverse time decreases over time, then how did scientists arrive at a date for “The Big Bang”?

If the speed at which the universe expands is constantly increasing (just like a derivative), then the opposite must also be true: the speed at which the universe contracts in reverse time is ...
4
votes
2answers
309 views

Is it possible that a ultra-large portion of the space we live in is already inside a black hole? How could we refute this?

Trying to wrap my head around some concepts involving the very large gravitational fields of black holes, and what the gravitational gradients look like on a cosmic scale. I'm familiar with the Great ...
4
votes
2answers
194 views

Weight of a celestial body

How do astronomers find out the correct weight of a planet even though there isn't any direct means to weigh them? What technique do they use? Just curious!
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2answers
690 views

Is a white dwarf hotter than a Red Giant?

From what I've read, white stars are hotter than red ones. But a white dwarf would have just heavy elements to fuse, so shouldn't it be less bright?
4
votes
2answers
331 views

Observational Evidence for the Existence of Black Holes

What is the direct observational evidence that black holes exist? I have read that black holes have been detected through X-ray emission. What is some other observational evidence for black holes?
7
votes
3answers
555 views

How does a gravity slingshot actually work?

From what I know of elliptical orbits, an object speeds up near the periapsis and slows down at the apoapsis, much like we learned in high school physics how a sphere would roll down and back up a ...
1
vote
1answer
76 views

Finding the radius of an eccentric orbit at any point

Knowing the apoapsis, periapsis and therefore period of an orbit, how can I find the radius of an object in an orbit at a given angle or time, whichever is needed. For example, if I have an object m ...
11
votes
2answers
129 views

How does the evolution of a solar system not break the second law of thermodynamics?

Please forgive: I am a layman when it comes to physics and cosmology, and have tried finding an answer to this that I can understand, with no luck. As I understand it, the solar system evolved from a ...
1
vote
2answers
309 views

How are the speed, distance and time of India's MOM and USA's Maven Mars missions calculated?

How do the scientists calculate the correct time to launch the Mars mission so that the satellite travel time is less? How they are synchronizing the speed of satellite with respect to earth and mars ...
5
votes
2answers
628 views

Our universe the surface of a 4-dimensional sphere?

The cosmic microwave background that we observe uniformly around us is usually explained by assuming that our universe is the surface of a four dimensional sphere. That way the uniformity makes sense ...
3
votes
1answer
108 views

Is there another explanation, apart from the doppler effect, for the redshift observed in distant galaxies?

On episode 10 of the original Cosmos TV series, Carl Sagan mentions that some scientist don't agree that the redshift observed in distant galaxies is evidence of the big bang, stating that probably ...
0
votes
3answers
145 views

Earth's gravitational pull on ISS

How do they make International space station to orbit the earth beyond earth's gravity acting on it? We all know that ISS is rotating at an altitude of just 350km away.How could ISS escape earth's ...
3
votes
1answer
54 views

Sattelite's orbit

What is the maximum distance for a satellite to orbit the earth? Does earth's gravity has the impact on satellite? I do know that earth's gravity will never be zero and it's gravity is inversely ...
1
vote
3answers
61 views

State of the stars

This question may sound silly but I'm really not pretty sure whether the stars are rotating or stationary.If they are not rotating what makes them to be stable?
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3answers
138 views

How fast is the universe expanding?

I've hear several theories stating that the universe is expanding faster than the speed of light, others claim that the universe expands faster the further away you measure it. Which of this is ...
6
votes
1answer
65 views

How can the life time of a multiple star system, such as for example the trinary system PSR J0337+1715 be derived?

As for example explained at the beginning of this blog post, the trinary system consists of a millisecond pulsar ($1.438$ times the mass of the sun) orbited by two white dwarfs. One of the white ...
8
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1answer
123 views

Timescale of ignition of a protostar?

What is the timescale of start of nuclear fusion as T Tauri type star transforms into a Main Sequence star? Wikipedia article on T Tauri type stars mentions: Their central temperatures are too ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

How does neutron star collapse into black hole?

We know the spectacular explosions of supernovae, that when heavy enough, form black holes. The explosive emission of both electromagnetic radiation and massive amounts of matter is clearly observable ...