Questions regarding the action or process of observing a single object carefully to glean information.

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4
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1answer
89 views

Could Venus or Mercury have a moon that we haven't detected?

Let's consider Mars' two moons for a moment. They're small, not even spherical, and most likely are captured asteroids. They weren't discovered until the late 1800's. Telescopes are much more powerful ...
4
votes
1answer
35 views

Calculating longitude from star culmination

Here is the problem: I need to calculate longitude of observing place. And I know time (in UTC+1) of star culmination (Sirius) and star altitude. I also know RA (right ascension) and Dec (declination) ...
5
votes
1answer
106 views

What good evidence exists for the 9th planet as spoken of by Caltech?

I'm sure Caltech has answered this in some way, but I think it's a good question have on this site. What good evidence exists for the 9th planet as spoken of by Caltech? As I see it, Caltech has ...
29
votes
5answers
5k views

Why hasn't the “9th Planet” been detected already?

In the comments to this question, there was considerable doubt placed as to the subject of if the so called "9th planet" really exists. That wasn't really the intent of the previous question, so I ask ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

What wavelength to best detect the “9th planet”?

We know that the reflected sunlight will make detecting the 9th planet very difficult in the visible light. Is there another band that will be more likely to detect it? What is the surface temperature ...
14
votes
2answers
384 views

How long should it take for us to observationally determine if Caltech's Planet Nine is really there?

Caltech just released a report that says there is possibly a large (10 earth mass) planet in a remote orbit (10 - 20 thousand year) that explains a lot of observations of Kuiper Belt objects. How long ...
0
votes
0answers
9 views

Is atmospheric turbulence irrelevant for ExoPlanetary transits and radial velocity measurments?

Atmospheric turbulence is known to scatter photons in a quasi-random way along their path throughout the atmosphere, resulting in lower imaging resolution than would have been anticipated by ...
12
votes
1answer
150 views

Have we ever observed a body, such as a large asteroid, “hitting” the Sun?

Some other SE questions about launching ICBM's into the sun got me wondering whether we have ever observed an object on a path that intersected with the Sun? How close did it get?
3
votes
3answers
245 views

Should this photo of the sun's surface actually be white?

If I'm told correctly (eg. What Color is the Sun?) that the sun is actually white, should the photo on that page actually be white too? Is it just doctored to meet peoples expectations?: Likewise ...
1
vote
2answers
92 views

Why isn't everything yellow(ish)?

I understand that - although appearing yellow - the sun is white. And that this is because the other light colours are scattered by the atmosphere. For example: Google image search for "The Sun from ...
8
votes
3answers
230 views

How Would a Neutron Star Actually Appear?

Having seen many pictures produced by artists of neutron stars and planets that orbit some of them, I was wondering how a pulsar would appear to a human being, in visible light (assuming the intense ...
4
votes
1answer
75 views

Why would the Earth's solar analemma would be still a figue eight even if Earth's orbit was circular?

The Earth's solar analemma is a diagram showing the deviation of the Sun from its mean motion in the sky, as viewed from a fixed location on the Earth. ... For [a planet] with a circular orbit but ...
2
votes
1answer
33 views

What is an “arc” spectrum ?

I sometimes hear about astronomers using an arc spectrum to calibrate observations. For example a "He-Ar arc spectrum". What is an "arc" in this context? I assume it's nothing got to do with angles ...
3
votes
1answer
30 views

Why do spectroscopic binaries have approximate circular orbits?

So for an assignment I have to answer the question what I can conclude concerning the shape of the orbit, knowing that it is both an eclipsing and spectroscopic binary. Now, I think the answer I ...
6
votes
1answer
97 views

What is in the brightest area of the night sky?

When I look up in the night sky, I assume the brightest area, commonly known as "The Milky Way", is the Galactic Center of our home galaxy. But then I stumbled upon this illustration, which seems ...
3
votes
1answer
38 views

Planet-timer “device” from 1970s or 1980s possibly by Edmund Scientific

Many years ago (early 80s or late 70s), I bought a cardboard "device" which I think was called "Planet Timer" and I think was sold by Edmund Scientific. Does anyone have any information on this ...
1
vote
1answer
105 views

Calculate Dec and RA of a star from Euler angles and GPS data

I have 9DOF sensor (accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer) that gives orientation via Euler angles (yaw, pitch, roll). Along with GPS data (latitude, longitude, elevation, time) this is passed to ...
1
vote
1answer
29 views

Is Polar Lights observation possible at the latitude of 56° N?

Back in 2002, me and my friends observed a green glow in the sky at night in the form of giant slow moving spurts of flame, looking more dense near the horizon and more blurred at height. It was ...
1
vote
2answers
125 views

Stellarium 0.10.4: planet orbits change over time?

If I draw the orbit of Mars in stellarium 0.10.4 for 23 Sep 2015, it passes south of Chi Leonis: If I advance the date to 17 Oct 2015, however, the orbit of Mars correctly goes right through Chi ...
3
votes
1answer
27 views

Standard conditions for a heliacal rising

I imagine there are several possible conditions for determining the time of a helical rising of a star, the elevation of the star at sunrise, the latitude of the observer, and the azimuth of the star. ...
4
votes
1answer
88 views

What's the distribution curve for meteor sightings?

I know that meteor showers have a "peak" observation time. What does the distribution in time look like? Is one side of the peak steeper/shallower or longer/shorter than the other side, and if so, ...
5
votes
1answer
57 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
30 views

Linear motion in the equatorial frame

I would like to calculate how the RA/Dec changes when an object has an apparent linear motionin the equatorial sphere. For example, more or less what an artificial satellite would do in a circular ...
3
votes
1answer
135 views

Real images (not “artist concept”) by NASA

Does NASA make publicly available real images of missions in an organized manner? What I mean is: Say I'm looking for the images taken by New Horizons - a simple list of the images in chronological ...
2
votes
1answer
32 views

How can I use Polar Alignment to find objects in the sky?

I have a six inch telescope on an equatorial mount and I've been struggling to use the mount properly. For a couple months now, the only strategy I've used is just 'point and look.' I've watched some ...
1
vote
2answers
98 views

Calculate time when star is above altitude 30°

To find the best observation time for an object, I'd like to calculate the time when it is 30° or more above the horizon. Local Sideral Time would be sufficient. To include that in my program, I need ...
7
votes
1answer
185 views

How can we tell the difference between matter and antimatter by observation in space?

I just was wondering and searching on the internet with little luck in the topic. On Antimatter Wiki they tell the observable universe is built up by matter. I read antimatter can be detected in ...
2
votes
0answers
82 views

What would this moving point of light be?

Tonight (10:00 PM EST Middlesex County, Mass.) when looking at the mostly clear sky I observed what I at first believed was a meteor. This point of light was moving east to northeast and that would be ...
1
vote
4answers
152 views

Is there a way to tell what the surface of a planet is like?

Kepler-442b I'm doing a project in which I need to find a planet within our galaxy that might be habitable. I found this planet that is within its stellar system's habitable zone, and due to research ...
2
votes
1answer
121 views

What's the difference between grism and grating?

In spectroscopic observations, sometimes you meet grism, sometimes grating. Both of them could cause light dispersion, but what is the difference?
0
votes
3answers
203 views

Could there be a closer star to Earth than the Alpha Centauri triple star system, excluding the Sun? [duplicate]

Do we know for certain that the nearest star to Earth, excluding the Sun and the theorized Nemesis, is the Alpha Centauri multiple star system, at +/-4.4 light-years away? Have we been able to ...
3
votes
1answer
60 views

Do neutrinos have as much information as photons do?

If neutrino detectors keep improving so that a fair number of neutrinos can be observed, would they be as informative for astronomy as photons are? They are of course a very valuable complement to ...
1
vote
2answers
428 views

why does venus flick?

I was watching Venus with the naked eye yesterday at about 7 pm and I noticed that it was flickering, almost like a star. I have always learned that planets don't flicker to the naked eye, only stars ...
2
votes
0answers
90 views

How long until the stars are no longer visible by the human eye due to light pollution?

I was curious to how long it will be until the stars are not able to be seen due to light pollution. I started wondering this after reading Yummie's Flash comic Knite.
5
votes
1answer
137 views

How often are new astronomical objects (variable stars, supernovae, comets, etc) discovered by amateurs?

How often are new astronomical objects (variable stars, supernovae, comets, etc) discovered by amateurs? Where could one report new findings?
2
votes
2answers
140 views

Why are distant objects observed in the near infrared?

I was reading an article that explains why JWST is a successor to Hubble and not a replacement for Hubble. They explained that Hubble's science pushed astronomers to look at longer wavelength. And ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

Is it possible to use the stars to determine the passage of time?

I'm writing a science fiction short story which involves a group of people being in suspended animation for a very long period of time, on the order of thousands of years. My question is, would an ...
0
votes
1answer
33 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?
0
votes
1answer
63 views

What is the largest object on which the Yarkovsky effect has been observed?

The Yarkovsky effect is responsible for changes in the rotation and orbit of some celestial bodies, most notably asteroids. It has been measured on asteroids, such as 6489 Golevka and 1999 RQ36. What ...
2
votes
1answer
88 views

What were the challenges for the ancients to observe the orbit of the Moon (instead of Mars)?

Astrophysics can be said to have been founded by Johannes Kepler around the year 1600. He based his break-through science on data of the position of Mars in the sky and disproved the ancient ideas ...
4
votes
1answer
162 views

Is stacking welder's glasses a safe way to watch at the eclipse?

You can find in many place on the Internet that welder's glass #14 is good for looking at an eclipse. Tomorrow (March, 20th 2015 at 10:45 CET) there's a solar eclipse and yesterday I could only find ...
3
votes
1answer
192 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
131 views

Retrograde motion and Kuiper Belt Objects

As seen from Earth, planets such as Mars and Jupiter exhibit retrograde motion when they are near opposition (from Earth). I am wondering how this effect extends to very distant objects, such as ...
16
votes
8answers
5k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
384 views

How can I see a nebula?

I've recently been seeing a bunch of pictures of nebulae and I'm just fascinated by their beauty and complexity. Is there any kind of telescope that would make it possible to view it from here on ...
6
votes
0answers
76 views

Does CIBER Experiment from Caltech suggest that there can be lots of stars which are not in any galaxy?

My question is about the implications of the observations recently made by the Cosmic Infrared Background Experiment, or CIBER, from Caltech. I've read at Caltech web site: "The total light ...
2
votes
2answers
173 views

Calculating area of visible sky

Can we calculate the area of sky visible to us from the point we are standing?I mean is there any idea or experiment to calculate it?
2
votes
1answer
100 views

How to read 5 degree data of green line intensity

When I open the 5 degree data of Green Coronal Emission line from this, I get a weird table which is not simple like the one for Coronal Index. I am only providing the table for 1939. ...
0
votes
2answers
50 views

How often and over what period is Earth’s rotation averaged to compute UT1?

I understand that UT1 (and for that matter UT0, UT2, etc.) are based on averages of actual earth rotation, and serve as a form of mean solar time. However it’s not clear to me when these averages are ...
0
votes
1answer
76 views

Can an observer on Earth only see half of the sky?

Is this the following statement true? An observer on earth only may see half of sky from the northern or southern hemisphere, and even if the observer stands on the equator on top of a very high ...