Questions regarding a layer of gasses surrounding a celestial object.

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3
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2answers
37 views

Does the earth's atmosphere act as a spherical lens and refract light from space?

If so by how much does it "spoil" the view of stars and galaxies etc. Is this error noticable, when compared to pictures taken from outer space.
2
votes
2answers
69 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?
5
votes
1answer
80 views

Could the earth's atmosphere have been partially stripped by a passing rogue planet?

I am involved in the fight between palaeontologists and aerodynamicists on the theoretical flight capabilities of the largest pterosaurs (who reached their climax in the Cretaceous and then ...
5
votes
1answer
77 views

How can satellites be safe in the atmosphere when there are so many asteroids coming in?

How can artificial satellites be safe in the atmosphere when there are hundreds of tons of dust and asteroids coming into earth's atmosphere everyday? What is an orbit of an artificial satellite? ...
5
votes
1answer
67 views

Did a piece of Halley's comet strike the Earth 1,500 years ago?

A friend showed me an article saying that there's evidence that a piece of Halley's comet may have struck the earth about 1,500 years ago. Is anyone here aware of such evidence?
6
votes
1answer
48 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 ...
18
votes
1answer
139 views

How could a hobbyist astronomer determine apparent magnitude of a star?

Apparent magnitude is a rather complex way to determine the brightness of a star. Quoting the introduction text from the linked to Wikipedia page: The apparent magnitude (m) of a celestial body is ...
6
votes
1answer
47 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
37 views

Loss of atmosphere on Mars

If the atmosphere on Mars was once much thicker, how was it likely lost? Was it due to interaction with the solar wind, the small size of the planet, both, or something else, and approximately how ...
9
votes
1answer
176 views

Why has Venus's atmosphere not been stripped away by solar wind?

This answer on Space Exploration to a question about Mars says that one reason Mars has such a thin atmosphere is because it lacks a magnetic field to protect it from the effect of double solar winds. ...
3
votes
2answers
33 views

Why did the Chelyabinsk meteor explode?

In February, a meteor entered the Earth's atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia and exploded, producing a shockwave blast that damaged hundreds of buildings around the explosion site in Russia. But why ...
11
votes
2answers
107 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
71 views

How are the compositional components of exoplanet atmospheres differentiated?

How are exoplanetary atmosphere compositional spectra distinguished from those of the parent star(s), from the composition of the planetary surface or any other factor? Is it actually possible to ...