Questions regarding a layer of gasses surrounding a celestial object.

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How do astronomers detect gases that are in the atmosphere of exoplanets?

Exoplanets are just planets that are located outside our solar system - whether that be orbiting a star or drifting past one. Now, the closest star to us is Alpha Centauri which is just over four ...
8
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1answer
892 views

How can neutron stars have gaseous atmospheres?

Neutron stars can have small atmospheres. However, they also have extremely strong gravitationally pulls. Shouldn't the all the gas molecules be drawn to the star's surface, and become solids under ...
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1answer
44 views

At what depth on Mars would the atmosphere have equal pressure of that on Earth?

I know the atmospheric pressure on Mars is less than that of Earth, and so is its gravity. However, I know that the deeper you go (e.g. in a cave or a hole that is dug), the more atmospheric pressure ...
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3answers
4k views

Why can't moon light (reflected sun light) turn the sky blue?

Does turning the colour of the sky blue need more luminous light? Does it depend on luminosity or some other factors are also responsible for this phenomenon? Why can't the moon light turn the sky ...
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1answer
174 views

Can you see city lights on the Moon from Earth?

This is the opposite of another question. That question is about whether you could see cities on Earth if you were standing on the Moon. Let's there are cities on the Moon and you're standing on the ...
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0answers
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What are the conditions for an ionosphere to form?

What are the conditions for an ionosphere to form on a given planet? Factors I could think of are Class and age of the star the planet orbits Distance to said star Density and composition of the ...
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1answer
45 views

Why do most meteors vanish just before hitting the ground?

Many times we see in the sky that most of the meteor shower trails vanish when they are about to strike the earth several feet above the ground. Why does this happen? They could strike the earth's ...
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3answers
48 views

What is it that distinguishes one atmospheric layer from another?

The atmosphere of a planetary body (assuming it has an atmosphere) is described as being made up of distinct layers. For example, Earth, Saturn and Jupiter all have a stratosphere and a ...
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2answers
76 views

Oxygen in a methane atmosphere akin to methane in oxygen atmosphere?

If we assume a planet the size of Earth with an equally dense atmosphere of nitrogen and methane, rather than oxygen, and it's in the goldilocks zone. Would a hypothetical alien species be able to use ...
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1answer
87 views

Oldest Reference to Astronomical Seeing

I'm writing a paper on astronomical seeing. Sir Isaac Newton identified both the phenomenon and origin of astronomical seeing in his Opticks. He writes: ...
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2answers
4k views

Why doesn't the moon twinkle?

Stars twinkle because their light has to squeeze through several different layers of the Earth's atmosphere. So why doesn't the moon twinkle as well?
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1answer
71 views

How do solar winds affect the atmospheric composition and density of planets?

Here is a bit of a newbie question, if you please. The sun is constantly ejecting small particles via solar winds that come into contact with planets and other objects in our solar system. Do these ...
8
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1answer
121 views

Is it accurate to compare comets to clouds and rain?

I'm trying to avoid an opinion-based question, so before I outline the comparison I'm proposing, I will qualify the specific facts that yield this comparison. By focusing answers on the relative ...
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2answers
91 views

Why argon instead of another noble gas?

I noticed that the atmospheres of Earth and Mars have a little bit of argon in them (1% to 2%). I checked Venus, too, which has 0.007% argon, but that's still more than any other noble gas in the ...
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1answer
101 views

How can you determine the initial volume of a planet's atmosphere?

Since the surface pressure of a planet is determined by the mass of the column of gasses above it one would surmise that to determine the pressure you must know the volume and mass of the atmosphere. ...
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0answers
25 views

Public Data Set on Atmospheric Absorbtion / Extinction

Is there a publicly available data set for mean atmospheric absorption / extinction? I would like to be able to process and plot a graph similar to this image from NASA on wiki commons. The HITRAN ...
5
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1answer
73 views

Equation for solar radiation at a given latitude on a given exoplanet?

I'm trying to find equations that would help me determine the amount of solar radiation hitting a certain latitude on a certain planet given the following inputs: the degrees of latitude of the ...
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2answers
247 views
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1answer
140 views

Does Ceres have an exosphere similar to the Moon?

Thinking about the question and answers for Does the Moon have any oxygen in its atmosphere? begs the question, despite being considerably smaller than the Moon and further away from the sun, does ...
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2answers
6k views

Why did Venus not lose its atmosphere without magnetic field?

It is often stated that the magnetosphere not only shields the planet from cosmic radiation, but also prevents atmosphere loss. Why did then Venus not lose most of its atmosphere if it doesn't have a ...
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2answers
6k views

Does the Moon have any oxygen in its atmosphere?

Since the moon has gravity, it's almost impossible that there aren't some gasses trapped on the surface by the moon's gravity. Has any free-floating oxygen been found on the Moon? If so, in what ...
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2answers
2k views

Is Earth unique in its fairly clear atmosphere?

So, we have surface pictures from two alien planets, Venus (captured by the Venera 13), and Mars (captured by the rover). Both of these pictures appear to be very dusty. For Venus we see strong ...
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3answers
201 views

mountains higher than atmosphere

Is it theoretically possible that planets exist with mountains so high that their peaks overtop the planets atmosphere? And which physical laws are relevant for this question? I'm just curious. Thanks ...
4
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1answer
153 views

What causes the aurora of other planets to have different colors?

All I could come up with is it depends on the atmospheric composition of the planet as they will interact with the charged solar particles which might be true but is there is there a definite reason ...
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1answer
67 views

Could spy satellites use laser guide stars (for adaptive optics)?

Are sodium lasers useful for Earth observing space telescopes/spy satellites?
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1answer
505 views

Shall we say now that Pluto is “larger than Mercury” ?

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/News-Article.php?page=20150717-3 "Scientists working with NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft have observed Pluto’s atmosphere as far as 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) ...
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1answer
62 views

Why doesn't the Moonrise appear red when viewed from orbit?

After searching through many videos, I finally found one that shows, from the perspective of low earth orbit, the Moon transiting the horizon. It is actually a Moonset, but it shouldn't make a ...
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1answer
88 views

What is the air pressure in the heliosphere (Sun's atmosphere)?

Specifically, I am wondering what the pressure is at a distance of around 1 AU. Does it it decrease quadratically with distance?
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1answer
71 views

How accurate are rederings of something entering Earth's atmosphere?

Supposedly how accurate is it when you see a movies showing something entering Earth's atmosphere traveling 1 mile to 10 miles an hour or barely at all but skinning the atmosphere they show it heating ...
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1answer
92 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 ...
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1answer
317 views

Would a human body float in the dense atmosphere of Venus?

To survive high in the atmosphere of Venus, all you would nead to wear is suit that protects you from the sulfuric acid vapors in the air and a supply of breathable air. Assuming (for simplicity) that ...
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2answers
2k views

Why do objects burn when they enter earth's atmosphere?

Why do all objects burn when they enter our atmosphere? is this because of our atmosphere composition? and does this happen on other planets as well?
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1answer
41 views

Around what apparent magnitude can the naked eye observe an object during full moon

For a very rough guideline using healthy/corrected eyes adjusted to the dark, around how bright should an object be to expect it to be visible?
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1answer
100 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 ...
4
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1answer
93 views

What are the cloud-like blobs in the Martian southern hemisphere?

In a very recent edition of New Scientist, an article Mystery cloud-like blobs over Mars baffle astronomers (16 Feb, 2015), detailed that on 12 March 2012, amateur astronomers around the world ...
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1answer
85 views

Could a magnetars magnetic field have saved Mars atmosphere?

Just wondering: if a magnetar was close enough to Mars would it have saved its atmosphere by protecting it from solar radiation? I was wondering this because Earth protects us via a magnetic field; ...
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4answers
976 views

How does Titan maintain the atmosphere

Titan which is smaller than mars has an atmosphere but mars is not able to maintain atmosphere. Even Luna doesn't have an atmosphere.
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1answer
56 views

Are there many faint meteors that are too faint to see with the naked eye?

I remember one time a while back looking at the night sky through night vision goggles. One interesting thing I noticed is that there appeared to be many very faint meteors in the sky practically all ...
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2answers
205 views

How do or could radio telescopes contribute to exoplanet studies?

Current and upcoming telescopes which find exoplanets and take spectra of their atmospheres seem to be optical or infrared. What about radio telescopes applied to exoplanets? They are larger and more ...
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1answer
44 views

What is the boundary in the atmosphere seen in this video?

This video, which shows time-lapse views of Earth from the ISS, consistently shows some sort of hard boundary in the atmosphere, below which there seems to be significant reflection from sunlight ...
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1answer
127 views

Energetics of Titans Tholin haze

So, I've googled and wiki'd on this, but no clue, so I turn my question to the community: Given Titan's nice orange haze that is supposedly composed of Tholins and strangely coincides with its ...
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1answer
67 views

How many stars can be seen naked eye from outside the atmosphere? Ho dense is the “sky” from there?

When I was 20, I went to Naxos (Greece) with friends. I was driving my car during the night on the mount Zeus (1003 meters - 3,291 ft) listening Pink Floyd. Up there we stopped the car to take a ...
2
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1answer
370 views

Effect of the absence of atmospheric refraction to sun rise and sunset times

What is the effect of absence of atmospheric refraction on sin rise and sunset time? Is it will be delayed or earlier for sunrise and sunset, and why? Thank you:)
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2answers
155 views

What is the current accepted theory as to why Titan has retained its atmosphere?

Titan (moon of Saturn) is unique in that it possesses a very thick atmosphere. However, Titan is certainly is not the largest of the moons - Ganymede being larger. What is the current accepted ...
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2answers
206 views

Why do some celestial bodies have atmospheres, and not others?

Question is rather self-explanatory. An answer touching upon how/why atmospheres are formed in the first place would be ideal as well. An example of such astral bodies would be The Earth and it's ...
6
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2answers
155 views

Can we find out whether early Venus was Earth-like or not?

It has been speculated that Venus billions of years ago could've had a much different atmosphere with liquid water on its surface and possibly life. Partly thanks to the cooler young Sun. But is it ...
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3answers
331 views

Can we hear something on Venus, Mars and Titan?

Mars, Venus and Titan have an atmosphere and we can theoretically step on them (and die quickly). So, as an example, let's say we can survive on these objects without a space suit. I say: “Hi” on any ...
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2answers
206 views

Would a high albedo reflective substance cool down Venus?

If we were to put a highly reflective substance into Venus's upper atmosphere, could we cool it down? I am envisioning adding a highly reflective fine dust or gas, possibly lighter than "air" to the ...
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1answer
92 views

Why do rocks on other solar system bodies that have an atmosphere seem to be flat?

Images taken by landers on Titan and Venus and Mars show landscapes where rocks, to me at least, are surprisingly flat. Being used to walking around in forests with roundish meter sized boulders, I'd ...
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1answer
155 views

How does water exist within the frost line of a star?

My supposition is that within the distance of the so called frost line around a star, water in empty space sublimates, evaporates. I further suppose that this means that vaporized water is pushed to ...