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

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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 ...
4
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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) ...
4
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1answer
88 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 ...
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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 ...
3
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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 ...
8
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1answer
408 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 ...
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2answers
297 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
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1answer
45 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
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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 ...
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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
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2answers
383 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 ...
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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 ...
3
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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 ...
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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 ...
12
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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?
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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 ...
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3answers
228 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
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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
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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
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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. ...
3
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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 ...
2
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
3
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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 ...
6
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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 ...
37
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4answers
5k 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 ...
3
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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 ...
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2answers
426 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 ...
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1answer
104 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 ...
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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 ...
4
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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, ...
2
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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?
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3answers
351 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 ...
2
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1answer
82 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 ...
5
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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
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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
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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
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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 ...
2
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2answers
172 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
45 views

Where can I find the image of MY Camelopardalis?

In this news article, it says The image captured by the telescope at the Calar Alto Observatory in southern Spain, reveal the physical properties of each of the stars including temperature and ...
7
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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 ...
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3answers
226 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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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 ...
10
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1answer
118 views

What percent of planets are in the position that they could be viewed edge-on from Earth? (and thus able to undergo transits)

Star number 12644769 from the Kepler Input Catalog was identified as an eclipsing binary with a 41-day period, from the detection of its mutual eclipses (9). Eclipses occur because the orbital ...
0
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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
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1answer
130 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 ...
2
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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. ...
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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 ...
2
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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.