Questions regarding electromagnetic radiation in the visible spectrum.

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24
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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?
19
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3answers
1k views

Why can't light escape from a black hole?

I've heard that light can't escape from a black hole. Can it? If not, why?
18
votes
8answers
6k views

Why can't we see distant galaxies with the naked eye?

If light keeps travelling in a straight line, why can't we see distant galaxies with the naked eye? Surely if you stared long enough, the light from them would eventually hit your eye? I apologize if ...
18
votes
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 ...
16
votes
5answers
3k views

By putting a mirror in space, would we be able to see into the past?

I only ask this because of how fast light travels. The question remains in the title. Why, or why not, would this work?
14
votes
6answers
3k views

Are we still going to have rainbows if Sun is replaced by another star?

Rainbow is a property of light splitting due to the water molecule present in the clouds and is related to the light emitted by our Sun. Our sun is a yellow star. Now if we replace sun by a blue giant ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Is the light we see from stars extremely old?

Our nearest star Proxima Centauri is 4.243 light years away from Earth. Does that mean we are seeing light that is 4.243 years old everyday?
13
votes
4answers
638 views

What is Gravitational Lensing?

What is the effect known as gravitational lensing? How does it work? What objects would be able to cause this effect?
11
votes
4answers
10k views

What is the difference between our time and space time?

I am trying to understand the phenomenon of space-time. But, everything on internet seems to be too complicated for me since I do not have a background in physics. Can anyone give me simple ...
10
votes
5answers
4k views

What would the effects be on Earth if Jupiter was turned into a star?

In Clarke's book 2010, the monolith and its brethren turned Jupiter into the small star nicknamed Lucifer. Ignoring the reality that we won't have any magical ...
10
votes
1answer
234 views

How did New Horizons take such well-lit pictures of Pluto?

The photos of Pluto from New Horizons are truly beautiful. But considering that Pluto is so far away from its nearest start - our Sun - how is it so well lit up? Did the New Horizons have a massive ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

How do scientists determine the age of stars?

I was Googling about the oldest galaxies in the Universe. Everywhere is written that their age is known by the light. Referring to this line "Since light travels at a set speed, if you look at a star ...
9
votes
1answer
183 views

Is the surface of TrES-2b actually dark?

The exoplanet TrES-2b is known as the darkest planet ever found, reflecting <1% of the light that hits it. What does it mean in respect to the surface? What would we see below the atmosphere of ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is the speed of light 299,792,458 meters/sec?

Ok, I am majoring in physics (4th year) and I never understood this fundamental (kinda) question. Maybe I haven't explored it enough. For example, why does it take 8min20sec for the light from the ...
8
votes
1answer
220 views

Can Doppler shift make colors of two stars at same distance different?

As you know, Doppler effect can change the wavelength of the light. Suppose there are two stars at same distance and same temperature. If one star is receding and the other star is approaching, their ...
7
votes
2answers
526 views

Are there stars that don't emit visible light?

Are there stars that do not emit any light in the visible part of the EM spectrum?
6
votes
4answers
490 views

Does Sun have a reflection on Earth?

The new Google Maps1 presents an actual view of Earth, with the current position of Sun illuminating half part of Earth in real time. It is quite an exquisite view. My question is based on the ...
6
votes
3answers
324 views

How does light affect the universe?

When light is emitted by for example a star, that star loses energy - which causes it to reduce its gravity. Then that energy begins a journey for potentially billions of years, until it reaches some ...
6
votes
1answer
369 views

When we say a galaxy is 200 million light years away, does this account for the expansion of space in the time it took it's light to reach us?

When we see a distant galaxy, the light we are watching started it's journey millions of years ago. In all that time, space has been expanding, so if the initial distance was A, right now the distance ...
6
votes
1answer
107 views

How would light from a blue or red star affect the way we see?

How would things look if we saw them through the light of a blue or red star? Would there be any changes?
6
votes
0answers
110 views

Is it possible to have two objects moving by sum speed of light (c) in the opposite direction? [closed]

I am puzzled by this question, because by the laws between the two object the relative gravitation force should be infinite. Anyways we can take two objects where the sum of speeds are equaling c ...
5
votes
3answers
429 views

Does gravity slow or speed light up?

The speed of light in a vacuum is presumably the fastest speed possible. if gravity bends the course of light, does this imply that gravity the retards light so it is moving at a slower speed? If ...
5
votes
4answers
484 views

What is the farthest point of light that is emitted by a torch?

If I focus my torch into the night sky,what would be the farthest point the light can reach? Recently I looked at the night sky and noticed a light spark moving around the clouds for about 15 ...
5
votes
1answer
91 views

What would the night sky look like if the interstellar medium didn't exist to absorb or block light?

I was curious about how much brighter it would be and how much further we could see.
5
votes
1answer
156 views

How is it known that Pillars of Creation are destroyed?

We can observe Pillars of Creation with 7000 years delay, but it is destroyed only 6000 years ago. How do we know that? How the information about explosion reached the Earth before light do?
5
votes
2answers
985 views

Why is twilight longer in summer than winter and shortest at the equinox

I recently decided to set my alarm clock to wake me up when it is "dark" out. In the end, I decided to set my clock to the earliest time that nautical sunrise is in my state (Illinois) and stick with ...
5
votes
1answer
64 views

Why do some artificial satellites decrease and increase in brightness multiple times?

I just observed a satellite almost directly above me travel for a few minutes while constantly dimming and then getting brighter. It did this for about 3 minutes until it faded out. I also observed a ...
5
votes
1answer
138 views

Why are (Type II) supernovae so bright?

The vast majority of energy from a supernova is emitted as neutrinos and high-energy radiation, both of which being invisible to the naked eye. Yet a supernova can outshine its galaxy in the visible ...
5
votes
1answer
116 views

Did time pass more slowly in the past?

13 billion years ago, the universe was about 600 million years old according to many scientists. At that time, all matter in the universe would have to be closer, or in other words denser. Did time ...
5
votes
1answer
38 views

Are we still in the Solar Maximus stage? Will this winter 2013/14 be a good aurora-viewing season?

I remember reading in 2011 that 2013/2014 would be the peak of the current solar maximus, but I want to confirm whether that is still ongoing. Will the upcoming winter season be a good time to see ...
4
votes
3answers
332 views

Is a black hole a perfect sphere?

I know all about how black holes form and why their gravity is so strong. However, is the gravity equally powerful in all directions? Will the event horizon appear as a perfect sphere?
4
votes
1answer
74 views

Pictures of large galaxies

The Andromeda Galaxy is tens of thousands of light years in diameter. That suggests that the most distant stars in the Andromeda galaxy is up to tens of thousands of years "behind" in their orbit ...
4
votes
1answer
56 views

Does the Perseid peak cause enough light pollution to be a problem?

The annual Perseid peak occurs between August 9-14. During this time, about one meteor burns up in the atmosphere per minute. When these meteorites burn up, they generate light. When you have one of ...
4
votes
2answers
52 views

Which planets have abundant amounts of photoluminiscent matter?

Which planets have abundant amounts of photoluminiscent matter? Photoluminiscent or chemoluminiscent whatever the glow-in-the-dark stuff it may be. Planets or bodies which have good enough the ...
4
votes
1answer
50 views

Speed of light through the ISM and Wavelength

Articles written about fast radio bursts describe the signal's short-wavelength components arriving before its longer-wavelength components, suggesting energy-dependent time delays in the interstellar ...
4
votes
1answer
272 views

How to calculate the limiting magnitude of Hubble?

I've found various sources on the web stating that the limiting apparent magnitude of the Hubble Space Telescope is about 31 or 31.5. Wikipedia lists that here and it has a cite to a pdf about it. ...
4
votes
1answer
70 views

Perception of an objects history passing as an observer moves toward it

If a star is 20 light-years away and I look at it through a telescope, what I'm observing is what the star was doing 20 years ago yes? So, if I fix my sight on the star and move toward it (for ...
4
votes
1answer
139 views

How bright are the outer planets, when at close range?

Seven probes have passed by or orbited outer planets. I wonder how their photos differ from the naked eye view one would have if one were actually there. Saturn is 10 AU from the Sun, which means ...
4
votes
1answer
74 views

How massive does a planet need to be to create gravitational lensing?

Is it ever possible for starlight to be distorted in a noticeable way from something as small as a planet? I'm guessing that the chances of this working are better on a dense terrestrial planet than ...
4
votes
1answer
119 views

Time dilation on an object circling earth

How would a receiver on Earth hear a radio transmission from an object circling earth at 99% of the speed of light for 24 hours. The transmission from the object circulating would be non-stop. ...
3
votes
5answers
393 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
301 views

Is the ratio between earth's distance from the sun and the speed of light just a coincidence?

I was doing some calculations to see how hard it would be to observe the speed of light and discovered an interesting correlation between the speed of light and the average distance from the earth to ...
3
votes
3answers
440 views

How does gravity interact with a photon?

If photon is mass-less and gravity can interact only with matter, then how does gravity alter the trajectory of light?
3
votes
1answer
89 views

Would I actually be able to see Ceres without shining a really bright torch onto it?

NASA's put out a semi-CGI video of a Ceres flyby using material from the Dawn mission. Now I realise that visibility is relative, even on Earth: I can walk into my basement and not be able to see ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

What's in the center of a Galaxy?

Ok, so it's supposed that there is a black hole in the center of any galaxy, that makes my head explode because: There is light in the center of the galaxy, but it is supposed that black holes, also ...
3
votes
2answers
393 views

Why are distant galaxies not visible in the observable Universe?

Assuming that the Universe is and has been expanding ever since its creation (Big Bang theory), the galaxies that are now at the 'edge' (not visible theoretically) must have been (at some point in ...
3
votes
1answer
88 views

Does near light-speed travel doppler-shift the light from the target into gamma rays?

If a space ship travels at near the speed of light towards a star, wouldn't the light from the star doppler shift into gamma rays (or worse?) and become lethal to life and destructive to space ship ...
3
votes
1answer
234 views

Is there light on the surface of Venus?

A simple question: is there light on the surface of Venus?
3
votes
1answer
49 views

Gravitational Waves and the Big bang

The Ligo website says "Detecting the relic gravitational waves from the Big Bang will allow us to see farther back into the history of the Universe than ever before." I find this puzzling. How can a ...
3
votes
1answer
79 views

Could dark matter be considered a medium?

Long ago, it was theorized that light had to travel through a medium, until the particle/wave duality of light was discovered. Then it changed to the idea that light can travel through the vacuum of ...