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

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3
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1answer
41 views

Will Gaia detect inactive neutron stars?

Will the astrometric precision of the Gaia space telescope be able to detect the gravitational influence of cold old solitary neutron stars on the movements of stars? At least in a statistical sense ...
3
votes
1answer
58 views

How far away is the nearest compact star remnant likely to be?

Neutron stars and black holes are hard to detect when they are solitary, and there seems to be big uncertainties about how common they are. White dwarfs are much easier to detect and the nearest one ...
0
votes
1answer
32 views

More than 67 Jovian moons?

Wikipedia says that there are now 67 known moons of Jupiter. It got me wondering: is it really possible in our day and age that there are more, but we haven't observed them yet? On the other hand, ...
4
votes
1answer
48 views

Is remote measurement of isotope ratios possible, or must a sample be aquired

Is it possible to measure to measure isotopic abundance of remote astronomical objects - ie measurement without having a sample to feed into a mass spectrometer? Do different isotopes show any ...
1
vote
3answers
146 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
63 views

Are there any reliable optical measurements of the radius of a neutron star?

I know that there is plenty of theory to predict the size of a neutron star: my question is whether or not there are any reliable size estimates based on observation. Please note that, to be reliable,...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

UTC to UT1 time corrections

Astronomic observations in geodesy. It is well understood that sun and star positions may be expressed in Greenwich hour angle and declination. Or Right Ascension Declination. And may be published ...
1
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2answers
138 views

Color of planets

I am developing an astronomy software and need to know the color of each planet in the Solar System, when observed with the naked eye. I cannot find that information after googling for a while. Is ...
6
votes
2answers
182 views

Are there any galaxies which fell out of sight horizon due to cosmic expansion?

If farthest galaxies run away from us with acceleration making them exceed speed of light, we should expect them to disappear from sky among time with increasing quantity. Did we observe this? Can we ...
3
votes
1answer
75 views

Why the light curve goes down when the planet is behind the star?

There is a video explaing the transiting exoplanet light curve — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrusIZaWDW8 It is clear to my why the curve goes down when the planet is between the observer and the ...
3
votes
1answer
74 views

Is Planet Nine observable in principle?

Is so-called Planet Nine (given it exists) observable in principle? By "observable in principle", I mean "if we knew exactly where to look, would we be able (from a technological standpoint) to get an ...
2
votes
3answers
107 views

Radio telescope targeting

How do you target a radio telescope on the precise object you wish to observe? You can point it in the general direction but how do you get the information from the exact point in the sky that you are ...
0
votes
0answers
16 views

How long do hot X-ray sources last?

Some X-ray sources in nebulae are caused by hot materials in the millions of degrees that formed in supernovae. What's the cooling rate of this stuff? How long does it stay this hot? I would expect ...
4
votes
2answers
270 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
58 views

How many stars are there in a Globular Cluster of 10^5 solar masses?

I was wondering whether there is an easy way to approximate the number of stars in a Globular Cluster (GC) with 10^5 solar masses. Can one, for instance just assume the GC is made of sun-like stars ...
5
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4answers
304 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?
0
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0answers
20 views

How to calculate the LST of an astronomical object at a given height above the horizon [in degrees]?

My situation: I want to observe M52 at RA = 23h24m48s, DEC = +61deg35arcmin36arcsec from, let's say, Calar Alto at 37.23deg N and 2.546deg W. How can I calculate the Local Sidereal Time (LST) at ...
3
votes
1answer
72 views

How big will Apophis appear?

How big will Apophis appear in the sky at its closest point of approach in 2029? Will it compare to the moon? How long will it linger as it passes?
3
votes
1answer
176 views

Pinhole projector for the Transit of Mercury

Very quick and simple one today. What would be the best/optimal pinhole size for a pinhole projector to observe the transit of Mercury on May 9th? I want to get the optimum between resolution and ...
0
votes
1answer
107 views

Why would astronomers want to eclipse the Sun?

I've heard that some astronomers are building an artifical solar-eclipse ship, that should help us to dim the diffraction of the Sun. Why don't we just wait till night? What is the function of the ...
1
vote
2answers
142 views

How can apparent magnitude be negative?

What is the reason for that scale? Is it because otherwise defining an maximum would be too hard(?). Why do objects that are (apparently) brighter get assigned a smaller number (and down to negative)?
2
votes
1answer
68 views

Given a collection of pixels, how to deduce the flux from them?

I've obtained the coordinates of brightest pixels from different images (.fits files) using Python. I want to get the flux of each pixel. How do I go about finding out the flux?
10
votes
1answer
121 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
65 views

How Soon Could a Waxing Crescent Moon Be Seen?

Question: Apart from a Solar Eclipse, How much time is needed until a Waxing Crescent Moon be seen following a New Moon? Would the time of year be significant? The Vernal Equinox + 1 Month. ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

Parabolic or hyperbolic trajectories

According to Newton's laws, the trajectories for the two-body problem are conics: either ellipses, or parabolas or hyperbolas. Of course periodic motions require Ellipses and in the Solar system these ...
4
votes
2answers
194 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

Moon SHAPE calculator

I have seen a lot of information about moon phase calculation, but need an accurate moon shape calculator/algorithm given the observer's position and time. This implies that the illuminated portion ...
7
votes
1answer
73 views

What is the schedule for science runs of aLIGO (and VIRGO)?

Advanced LIGO seems to operate only intermittently. Is there a schedule for at what times it will be able to register new gravity waves? Even if no formal schedule is available, what main factors ...
2
votes
1answer
66 views

Could science be lost if a phenomena is observed before predicted? [closed]

An observation could validate the predictions made by a previous theory. If something unpredicted is observed, then a new theory which is compatible with the observation should make predictions which ...
5
votes
2answers
171 views

Why when we look through a telescope in space, do the billions of stars not block our view from seeing further?

I know that we are able to "see back into time" by looking very far away through telescopes such as the Hubble telescope, but my question is, wouldn't you run into at least a couple of stars that were ...
4
votes
1answer
101 views

Have we seen a black hole?

Have we actually seen a black hole out there? By "seen" I mean "recorded a em-spectrum image of gravitational lensing caused by object believed to be black hole".
4
votes
1answer
57 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) ...
4
votes
1answer
148 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 ...
31
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
484 views

Why does the moon sometimes appear giant and a orange red color near the horizon?

I've read various ideas about why the moon looks larger on the horizon. The most reasonable one in my opinion is that it is due to how our brain calculates (perceives) distance, with objects high ...
6
votes
2answers
328 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
52 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, ...
5
votes
1answer
130 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 ...
13
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
429 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
12 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
297 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
134 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
247 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?
1
vote
2answers
54 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
409 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
111 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
54 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
29 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
40 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 ...