Questions regarding systems of large numbers of stars held together by gravity.

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Why aren't there galaxy-sized balls of iron out there?

Since we know that stars burn out, collapse, or blow up when too many of their atoms fuse inti iron, then how come, with all the ancient galaxies we've been observing, there isn't one galaxy whose ...
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3answers
484 views

Do we expect life to develop only in certain regions of the galaxy?

If I understand correctly, the Earth lies in an area of the galaxy - the "local bubble" - that is relatively free of dust and gases and where no new stars are being born. What is the current theory ...
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1answer
79 views

Is the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field image representative of the entire sky?

The Hubble ultra-deep field image is a photograph of an area of sky equivalent to a 1mm x 1mm piece of paper held a metre away from the eye (one thirteen millionth of the entire sky). It contains an ...
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2answers
99 views

Where does the Milky Way end?

I was reading this article and it says the following: Researchers measured the mass of the Milky Way and found that our galaxy is approximately half the weight of a neighbouring galaxy known as ...
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1answer
45 views

Sloan digital sky survey galaxies

I am trying to get some data from the Sloan digital sky survey (SDSS). This task turned out to be challenging for me as someone with only little knowledge about astronomy and maybe someone here can ...
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2answers
45 views

What is the difference between a dwarf spheroidal galaxy and a globular cluster?

This Wikipedia article states that Segue 1 is either a dwarf spheroidal galaxy or globular cluster associated with our own Milky Way. I am wondering what the difference is between dwarf spheroidal ...
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3answers
137 views

Could light be dark matter?

Is it possible that light itself is dark matter? I am speaking of photons (e.g. visible light, infrared, ultraviolet, etc...). I realize light is understood to be massless, but it is obvious it at ...
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2answers
163 views

Are there a lot of collisions between stars in the core of the galaxy?

I'm reading on Wikipedia about Halo Stars that orbit the center of the galaxy at a high inclination away from the plane of the Milky Way. It seems that at some point, these stars must dive back into ...
6
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1answer
73 views

Supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies

The fact is, many, if not most large galaxies have a supermassive black hole at their center. My question is why? Is it because when these galaxies were first formed supermassive black holes were ...
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1answer
46 views

Metallicity: What are the metallicity values of various galaxies?

What are the various values of metallicity of various known galaxies, like Milky Way, Large Magellanic Cloud, Small Magellanic Cloud, Andromeda and so on?
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1answer
110 views

Statistically, what would the average distance of the closest black hole be?

The closest confirmed black hole is several thousand light years away from earth. Our galaxy has about 100 billion stars. I didn't find any reliable information on the black hole count of ratio versus ...
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2answers
48 views

Stars in star clusters in SMC and LMC

Is there any catalog or any paper published in any journal that enlists the stars discovered under which ever star-cluster of Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) they belong to? There is one for Large ...
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2answers
52 views

How many stars are visible to naked eyes around Equator area?

In the best sky conditions, we can see about 44,000 stars in the sky. But what if I am located around Equator area? How many stars I can see? From what I know, the number of stars I can see should ...
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1answer
45 views

Distance of extra-galactic Classical Cepheids

There have been many questions and answers about finding the distance of a star from the earth. But as I did some research on the net, I found that we have specific approaches for finding the ...
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2answers
47 views

What is the difference between LMC and SMC?

Apart from the obvious difference as suggested by their names that the Large Magellanic Cloud is 'larger' than the Small Magellanic Cloud, what are the other differences between them? Do give all the ...
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2answers
59 views

What is meant by “Radial Direction” of a galaxy?

There is a scientific journal article having a line: "In order to study the star formation scenario in the radial direction of the LMC...." What is meant by 'radial direction' of a galaxy ?
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0answers
28 views

Torus of the AGN

How much do we know about the structure of the torus surrounding the galactic nuclei? Is the shape defined or still under speculations? And are there different structures for this torus possible i.e., ...
7
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0answers
94 views

Dark Flow: statistical limits on existence

Dark Flow has been thrown around as a term a lot lately, especially with the latest Planck results. New Scientist reported last year that it was now statistically improbable, but the paper by Atrio ...
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2answers
72 views

Metallicity of Celestial Objects: Why “Metal = Non-metal”?

Metallicity of objects refers to the amount of chemical elements present in it other than Hydrogen and Helium. Note: The other elements may or may not be actual ...
3
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1answer
35 views

Active Galactic Nuclei - categorisation on the basis of observer?

As we know AGNs are considered to be one of the most luminous objects to be found in the cosmos.Based on the observer, for instance on Earth, we categorize them on the basis of the angle between the ...
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3answers
86 views

Pulsation Modes of Cepheids

There are various modes of Cepheids like single modes: fundamental (F), first overtone (1O), and likewise. And then we have double modes: F/1O, 1O/2O etc. triple modes: 1O/2O/3O etc. ...
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2answers
53 views

What does “Normalized to Si 10 to the power 6” mean?

I'm writing a space game that I want to give a more "realistic" feel. When looking for a reference as to distribute elements in planets (for mining, etc) Instead of finding the more usual percentage ...
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1answer
69 views

Active Galaxies

I've read that there are 4 distinct although related forms of AGs : Seyferts, Quasars, Radio and Blazars. Are there any other forms possible? Also do these forms ever intermix to give something new?
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3answers
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Quasars and SMBH

Quasars are known to contain supermassive Black Holes at their cores. So does that mean that the number of quasars is equal to that of the SMBHs out there?
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1answer
80 views

why are galaxies different in color?

whether its in movies,television,real-life or some planetarium different galaxies are shown in different color. For ex:- Milky way is always seen in Blue where as Andromeda gives out a bit reddish ...
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2answers
139 views

How can we predict a Big Crunch when all galaxies are moving further apart?

I've read that the further away a Galaxy is from us the faster it moves away. By this logic how can scientists predict that there will eventually be a big crunch when every piece of matter is ...
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1answer
130 views

What is the probability that there is life on other planets?

I would like to know, from a mathematical point of view what is the probability that 1) There is organic life on other planets 2) There are advanced species like us or even greater than us on other ...
4
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3answers
151 views

Is there a fundamental difference between a small galaxy, and a large star cluster?

For instance, If a large globular cluster were somehow ejected from its galaxy, and was observed by astronomers, would they call it a galaxy, or would there be characteristics of the star cluster that ...
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1answer
78 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 ...
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5answers
4k views

What will happen to life on Earth when Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies collide?

It is said that, Andromeda and Milky way galaxies are coming close to each other with the speed of approx $400000 \ km/hours$. They will be together in the next $4 \ billion years$. What will ...
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2answers
84 views

Apogalacticon and Perigalacticon

What is the length of the apogalacticon and perigalacticon of the Sun and Milky Way? The general terms seem to be apoapsis and periapsis. My greatest efforts at Googling have failed miserably. If ...
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4answers
148 views

What is the speed of light relative to (in space)?

From what I understand the universe is expanding faster than the speed of light and accelerating so that it's possible that a given galaxy: $A$ will no longer be visible to another given galaxy: $B$. ...
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3answers
94 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 ...
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131 views

Age of the universe

A Galactic year is estimated to be around 250 million "terrestrial" years. That means there will be about 4 rotations per billion years. And age of the universe is estimated to be near 13.8 billion ...
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4answers
199 views

Do solar systems have to evolve in a galaxy?

Is it possible for a solar system like ours to exist and evolve apart from all other star systems and galaxies. Sort of like a stand alone solar system or rogue solar system for lack of a better name. ...
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2answers
169 views

Galaxies are moving away from each other then how Milkyway and Andromeda galaxy coming towards each other?

The Andromeda Galaxy is approaching the Milky Way at about 684000 mi/hours, making it one of the few blueshifted galaxies. The Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way are thus expected to collide in about ...
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2answers
99 views

Can we know whether any distant galaxy is moving away in same direction or in opposite direction w.r.t. our galaxy?

The Hubble law states that the recessional velocity of a galaxy is proportional to its distance from us. It takes redshift and angular sizes (for distance) of the galaxy to determine velocity, and ...
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2answers
408 views

Was the Milky Way ever a quasar?

Is there any evidence that the Milky Way could have been a quasar in it's early history? Is it thought that most galaxies come from quasars?
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1answer
109 views

Do stars of a galaxy change their positions relatively to each other?

Complete astronomy noob over here who would be happy if he get a simple answer (and who is also aware that this may be not possible)... I've learned from a tv documentary that the stars at the edge ...
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1answer
227 views

Explaining Dark Matter and Dark Energy to layman

With my little knowledge, I know this: Dark Matter The center of a galaxy controls/attracts its objects (stars, planets, comets etc.) towards itself because of gravity. But the mass of the center of ...
5
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1answer
105 views

Computing the Sérsic profile of a galaxy from jpg images

I am trying to calculate the Sérsic profile of various galaxies from the SDSS based on the images provided by the galaxy zoo site. I am doing this as part of a kaggle competition on using machine ...
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1answer
144 views

Is it possible that we see our solar system as a star?

A few days ago I just read here that our galaxies (one of which we are part of) move or expand faster than light, And read here that light we see from stars is extremely old, maybe more than several ...
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2answers
66 views

Are Gamma Ray Bursts of galactic or extragalactic origin?

I read about the 1995 Lamb-Paczynski debate on whether GRBs are galactic or extragalactic in origin. With our current experimental evidence, have we found whether GRBs are galactic or extragalactic?
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2answers
32 views

what is the highest throughput astronomy project in pixels?

I was having a discussing about big scientific projects with colleagues, and I postulated that astronomy is still one of the scientific fields with biggest projects per amount of data dealt with, ...
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1answer
52 views

Do galaxies have a preferred orientation?

This article: http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2011/jul/25/was-the-universe-born-spinning asserts that the universe was "born spinning" and that there is a preferred rotation direction for ...
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1answer
120 views

Where is Voyager 1 (or 2) going? In which direction?

Knowing it has exited the solar system, is it traveling in the direction of the center of the galaxy, away from it, orbiting it, or maybe even going perpendicular from the disk-shaped galaxy?
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1answer
151 views

Our galaxy, the Milky Way, forms part of a galaxy group called The Local Group. What are the parameters that dictate what a galaxy group is?

Are there different classifications or just the one? How does our galaxy group compare with others?
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1answer
96 views

How do we know Milky Way is a 'barred' spiral galaxy?

In reference to the question, "How can we tell that the milky way is a spiral galaxy?" The answers there clearly sum up the question asked. But Milky Way is not just a spiral galaxy. It is further ...
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1answer
84 views

How do we calculate the escape velocity of galaxies?

How do we calculate the escape velocity of galaxies? Do we have to know the total mass? What is the escape velocity for Milky Way?
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1answer
88 views

Why are galaxies disk shaped?

I always see galaxies in "disk" shape in pictures. It is like, there is a rotational movement on a plane and the system is balanced by the pulling-in gravitational force which prevents the stars to ...