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

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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 ...
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1answer
22 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 ...
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1answer
15 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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0answers
15 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 ...
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1answer
33 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 ...
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1answer
67 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 ...
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1answer
30 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 ...
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1answer
69 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 ...
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8answers
3k 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 ...
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2answers
102 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 ...
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0answers
46 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 ...
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2answers
62 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?
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1answer
63 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. ...
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1answer
38 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 ...
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1answer
55 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 ...
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1answer
75 views

What it would look like to observe people with a different time flows?

As I learned, that the bigger gravity source you are influenced by the more slow time ticks for you, the farther away you are from a gravity source the faster times ticks. So Imagine two different ...
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4answers
4k views

How does the Earth move in the sky as seen from the Moon?

I just want to be sure I am visualizing this correctly, because it seems odd. The Moon is tidally locked to the Earth but there are wobbles to its motion due to libration. So from a point on the ...
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1answer
92 views

Where is the center point for the Supergalactic coordinate system?

Im trying to build a 3D visualization of the Supergalactic coordinate system and couldnt find any reference to where the center point should be (sun, galactic center, earth, etc). Also I already ...
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1answer
58 views

How many observations does it take to determine the orbit of a TNO

Several observations of a distant solar object must be taken before determining its orbit, but in the case of objects discovered beyond Neptune's orbit, just how many are required over what period of ...
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1answer
207 views

Pictures of a curious astronomical phenomenon

In a recent holiday, a friend made the following picture. It contains a curious green "thing" in the nightsky. The picture was made in Ladakh, India, 6weeks ago. The "thing" only appeared in one of ...
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3answers
114 views

How would we detect a planet behind the Sun?

Let's assume hypothetically that Earth has a twin planet on the opposite side of Earth's orbit. Its orbital period would be exactly the same as Earth's and it would always be behind the Sun so ...
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0answers
19 views

When do Mercury/Venus reach greatest elevation at sunset/twilight for a given location?

On what day does Mercury reach its greatest elevation (in degrees from the horizon) at sunset a given location? The obvious answer is the day of Mercury's greatest elongation from the Sun, but, ...
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2answers
46 views

How do I find the RA of sunset and sunrise in a specific location?

I want to make some observations with a telescope in Hawaii on Mauna Kea but I am living somewhere else (not Hawaii) and I want to plan a night's viewing on the Hawaiian telescope. How do I find the ...
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0answers
41 views

Are there sufficient observational data to measure non-Newtonian perihelion advances of any Asteroid and Comet orbits?

Anomalous (i.e. not predicted from Newtonian theory) advances of the perihelion direction have been observed for many solar system planet orbits and have been accounted for by Einstein's General ...
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1answer
31 views

Adaptive Optics?

I get the general idea of adaptive optics. The light from an object distorted by differences in the earth's atmosphere, and a telescope with AO tries to compensate for this distortion by various ...
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1answer
26 views

Save current state in ds9?

After fooling around with a FITS file(s) (e.g. setting scale, changing color) is it possible to save the session such that there is a file associated with all those tweaks the next time I open it up? ...
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2answers
117 views

How was an infrared picture of the entire universe taken?

(click to enlarge) How was this picture of the supposed entire universe taken in infrared? Also, why does it seem as though almost all of the matter is in a line formation over the center? It makes ...
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1answer
54 views

Data for red-shifting

I am looking for basic data regarding red-shifting that comes with reliable measure of distance of the emitting star.
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1answer
97 views

Why can't we determine the center of the universe [duplicate]

I find this baffling. If we can observe objects moving away from us and each other, than it stands to reason that we can track their paths (relative to each other and ourselves) backward to find a ...
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1answer
64 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 ...
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1answer
51 views

What is this graph showing?

This is from the NED What do these three titles mean? log fb (Jy) MRK 1014 Log v (HZ) Why is there LINE,LINE,...
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2answers
101 views

Is it difficult to see DSO in your eyepiece?

I want to know if bringing the image of a DSO in eyepiece generally represents a problem for beginners in astronomy.
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2answers
253 views

How did Kepler determine the orbital period of Mars?

As I understand it, Kepler used the orbital period of Mars, along with observational data of Mars' and the sun's position in the sky to derive the orbits of Earth and Mars. (As described, here: ...
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2answers
84 views

how does redshift prove expansion is accelerating?

My astronomy teachers never would answer this for me... Redshift obviously indicates an object (such as another galaxy) is moving away, but how do we know its acceleration from this? It's my ...
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2answers
183 views

Can I look at the sky and find the day of the week?

Suppose I wake up from a coma on a desert island in the 19th century (i.e. we already use the Gregorian calendar but have no satellites yet). I have a clear view of the sky and a couple of days to ...
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1answer
195 views

Point Spread Function size: Full Width Half Maximum (FWHM) vs Sigma

I having been studying some astronomy papers related to galaxy observations and I realized that every time they want to express the size of the Point Spread Function (PSF) of a system which can be ...
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1answer
31 views

Sensitivity of calculated orbital elements to observational errors

These days, we have some very precise ways of making measurements, but I'm sure it wasn't so in Kepler's day. So I am wondering how astronomers of that time could make such accurate determinations of ...
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1answer
111 views

How would Alpha Centauri A appear from the surface of Alpha Centauri Bb?

I'm trying to imagine what a hypothetical observer on the surface of Alpha Centauri Bb would see in the daytime sky. I know it would vary depending on the orbit of b around B, as well as the position ...
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1answer
160 views

Please Guide me to buy my first Telescope [duplicate]

I am a beginner and I've planned to buy a telescope(Newtonian reflector)for viewing planets and deep sky objects. As far as I know the most important factor to get a brighter view is that the ...
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1answer
1k views

Are satellites orbiting around earth visible to the naked eye?

I was just lying under the sky trying to possibly see some meteorites, unfortunately never seeing any I might add, but I saw three objects all moving at about the same speed( all at different times). ...
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1answer
45 views

Why do Jovian moons fade when transiting Jupiter's shadow?

When reading an article on using Jovian moons to calculate longitude, I came across this passage: Periodically, Jupiter eclipses each of the four large moons as they pass into the planet's mammoth ...
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2answers
77 views

Present distances between planet. How can I find them?

It's "commonly known" how distant are our solar system planets from Sun. But we can't easily say that about planets, which distances can differ greatly, without some observations (or simulations, ...
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3answers
133 views

How are rogue planets discovered?

Planets are usually found by observing a star and waiting for the light level to drop when a planet passes in front of it, but what about rogue planets that don't have host stars?
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1answer
66 views

How do one identify something they see in the sky?

I've always wondered how someone looking at the sky into the enormous amount of stars and other things out there figures out that whether it is an already identified object or is he looking at ...
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1answer
77 views

How do astronomers find interesting events?

I always wondered how those tiny dots representing moving stars or whatever forming an interesting event (supernova explosions, stars being sucked into black holes etc.) get caught in the huge solid ...
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3answers
458 views

Why can you see the space station on some days but not on others?

In my area, from December 17th - 26th, you can see the space station every day, twice But from December 27th - January 6th, you can only see it twice My question is, why does it appear for ...
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1answer
216 views

If we were to see the Sun with our naked eyes from the Orion belt, would all planets be encompassed inside the star? Is this calculable?

When we see a star it looks much bigger in diameter to us than it really is, this picture (extracted from here) explains what I mean: Notice that the point we see in the skynight, represented by ...
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1answer
320 views

Solar Noon: meridian crossing time versus time of maximum elevation

According to the first paragraph of the Noon Wikipedia page, solar noon is the moment when the Sun crosses the meridian and is at its highest elevation in the sky. The wording there suggests that ...
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2answers
172 views

How to calculate the altitude of the Moon?

With the known latitude coordinate of the observing position, how to find the altitude of the moon when it is high, i.e when it crosses the local meridian?
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2answers
126 views

What are some night sky objects I could see with my Celestron UpClose 20x50 Porro Binocular?

I bought this binocular because I've read countless times that one should start with a pair of binoculars before diving into telescopes. I've seen details of the moon and I can notice Venus round ...