Questions regarding celestial bodies in orbit around a star.

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On a log-log plot of surface gravity to planet mass, what is the meaning of the y-intercept?

I am playing around with data from exoplanets.org, and am interested in the plot of surface gravity to planet mass. I reproduced this plot after downloading their data and performed a non-linear ...
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4answers
60 views

Image sets for testing stacking algorithms?

I am looking for sets of astronomical images for testing different kinds of stacking algorithms. The idea is simple: if one has $N$ images of the same object, the signal-to-noise ratio of the ...
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2answers
41 views

Why does the Solar System have no (natural) satellites of satellites?

What are the conditions for a planetary moon to have a satellite of its own? How far do the Solar System's bodies fall from the necessary threshold?
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1answer
43 views

Calculating RA/dec from JPL ephemeris data

I'm using JPL planetary ephemerides to calculate the position of planets. Using DE405 ephemeris (using a parser provided by Project Pluto with all tests passing). I am fetching the position of Mars ...
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2answers
66 views

Years, Months, Day, and Weeks?

Sorry if this is a basic question. 1 year = earth revolution around the sun 1 month = moon revolution around the earth 1 week = 7 days = ??? 1 day = earth rotation about its axis Why do we ...
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2answers
279 views

Open problems in astronomy that an amateur (with a PhD in some other field) would have a chance of solving?

What are some open problems in astronomy that an amateur would have a chance of solving? Suppose the amateur has a PhD in some other field, owns a basic telescope, a set of filters, diffraction ...
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2answers
43 views

Can we know the orbital planes of extraterrestrial planetary bodies?

Astronomers can tell if there are any exoplanets orbiting its parent star using but not limited to the following methods: Transit As an massive object usually a planet passing in front of a star ...
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2answers
191 views

Weight of a celestial body

How do astronomers find out the correct weight of a planet even though there isn't any direct means to weigh them? What technique do they use? Just curious!
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1answer
38 views

Equations for coordinates of solar system objects

I would like to write a program that visualizes the solar system. To do this, I would need equations for calculating the coordinates of each solar system object at a given time. Where could I obtain ...
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1answer
33 views

Are there any works discussing planetary bodies being forms of life?

I'm searching for works or individuals that consider and discuss the idea of planetary bodies being considered stand alone living creatures, rather than objects either capable or incapable of ...
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3answers
74 views

BIG CRUNCH Theory

Someday before i read about a article which explained about a phenomenon called BIG CRUNCH, according to it the way Big Bang happened because of which the remains moved away from one another forming ...
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0answers
17 views

are all the planet in the same plane? [duplicate]

are all the planet in solar system the same plane in the space or not ? if yes is there any especial reason ? and if no how do they orbits then ? as far as i know they are in the same plane , but is ...
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2answers
57 views

Where is Mars in the night sky

I live around Houston, Texas and I'm taking advantage of Earth hour to look at the stars. I've found two objects that I think might be Mars. Both of them are in roughly the same plane as Venus and ...
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0answers
83 views

BIG Problem with the Planet definition

Ok, so Pluto is only ~1/13 the mass of the objects in "its orbit". This orbital region extends from 40 AU to 70 AU (semi major axes)- Now, just a minute. 30 AU is all the mass we are considering. Now, ...
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0answers
55 views

Lack of planets in the Oort Cloud

With the current news about the possibility of a planet in the Oort cloud, I was thinking, why is the matter in the Oort cloud distributed so? It makes sence that inside the planet region there is not ...
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1answer
43 views

Do astronomers and astrophysicists more often use diameters or radii when discussing about planets, dwarf planets, exoplanets and stars?

Mathematicians much more often use radii over diameters when discussing about circles and spheres, because in mathematics the radius is more fundamental than the diameter (the sphere is defined using ...
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1answer
75 views

How to calculate the expected surface temperature of a planet

I'm writing a program to generate solar systems but I'm having trouble calculating the expected temperature of a planet. I have found a formula to calculate this, but I haven't been able to get a ...
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1answer
102 views

How long does it take Dawn to orbit Ceres?

I haven┬┤t been able to find the orbit time of Dawn around Ceres. Do you know how long it takes?
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1answer
30 views

Internal heat and differentiation

I was reading an article on planetary differentiation, and apparently internal heat producction plays a mojor role. There are several sources of such heat described, such as tidal heat, radiogenic ...
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2answers
85 views

Can Magnetars destroy planets?

Magnetars are the most magnetic things in our universe. Because of how powerful their magnetic fields are, they could split every single atom apart from each other in our body. Because of this could ...
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1answer
93 views

Difficulties in finding Jupiter

I am new to astronomy. Jupiter is now visible to the naked eye but I have difficulties in locating it with my (new Newtonian reflector) telescope. The lowest magnification I have is 36X, which I guess ...
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2answers
160 views

Find distance from star to star?

How do you find the distance from a star/planet/black hole to another? I know people can calculate the distance from Earth to a star, but what about from one to another?
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2answers
130 views

What astronomical observations would give conclusive proof of alien life?

There are several ways we are coming closer to answering the question "is there life elsewhere in the universe?". One is by first understanding very well the origin life on our own planet. Another is ...
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3answers
116 views

Why there are other planets in our solar system? [closed]

Why there are planets in our solar system other than Earth? Only Earth supports life. What is the significance of other planets? Earth receives sunlight from Sun; in a similar way, do we receive any ...
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2answers
75 views

Could there be another planet between Mercury and the Sun?

Could there be another planet between Mercury and the Sun? Kepler found a lot of planets orbiting its star even 20 times closer than Mercury. If there were such planets in our system - would it be ...
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1answer
32 views

Recent origin of Saturn's rings

Saturn was formed around billion years ago along with Jupiter. After which it had enough time to form moon which can break into rings. Then why is it said that Saturn's ring are of recent origin - ...
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1answer
62 views

What is the process for vetting the 4,175 candidate planets Kepler has discovered?

In the National Geographic article about NASA's announcement of new planets discovered by the Kepler spacecraft, it states that there are 4,175 candidate planets. What is the process for vetting these ...
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1answer
158 views

How did scientists determine an estimate of the number of planets greater than Sedna's size to exist in the Inner Oort Cloud?

In the article, New Dwarf Planet Found at Solar System's Edge, Hints at Possible Faraway 'Planet X' (Wall, 2014) where they report on research and observations performed by astronomers that discovered ...
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2answers
131 views

Maximum and minimum gas giant & ice giant densities

I'm working on a star system generator for a game; I'd like its results to be plausible but they needn't be super-realistic. I've got the orbital distances and masses of each body in the system, and ...
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3answers
140 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
68 views

The role of gravity during planetesimal accretion

As far as I understand, during the formation of a planetary disc, grains of dust stick together due to collisions and chemical bonding. Considering the size of the grain - say, 1 mm - and the speed - ...
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3answers
211 views

Planets and Pluto? Neptune?

If one of the rules to be a planet is that it needs to clear ALL objects from their orbit, does this also make Neptune a non-planet? Since it has thus far failed to clear Pluto (and based on an answer ...
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1answer
100 views

Composition of planets' core

It is often possible to find a list of the materials that compose the cores and the mantle of plantes (often they are iron and/or nickel). How can these materials be determined in our Solar system? ...
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2answers
115 views

Can a gas giant have an other gas planet as satellite?

Is it possible for a gas giant (A very big one) to have an other smaller gas planet as satellite?
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4answers
2k views

Is Pluto still a dwarf planet?

Recent news seem to suggest that astronomers are arguing about whether Pluto should become a planet again. However, I cannot find an official source for this. Is this actually true?
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1answer
302 views

What would be the dynamics of a double-planet system, similar to Earth / Moon, but with both bodies nearly Earth-sized?

Researching a sci-fi story involving a "twin-planet" system. Is such an arrangement (however unlikely) physically possible? And if so, must they be tidally locked with each other, similar to the moon, ...
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2answers
142 views

How can a planet not rotate at all and yet have 1 year that is day and 1 year that is night?

A mercury day if you consider its solar day is 2 mercury years. Now if you consider just 1 half of mercury, in 1 of those years it is facing towards the sun and in another one of those years it is ...
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2answers
440 views

When will all eight planets in our solar system align?

Ignoring expansion of the universe, entropy, decaying orbits, and interference from any bodies colliding with or otherwise interfering with their orbits, will the eight planets known planets in our ...
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3answers
121 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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1answer
61 views

Is it possible that only one hemisphere of a planet has an atmosphere?

Suppose there is a tidally locked planet orbiting a star. The planet's surface consists of a global ocean, that is, liquid water. At the inner hemisphere the temperature is so high that the water is ...
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1answer
65 views

What day/night cycles, climate and seasons would experience Alpha Centauri Bb inhabitants?

Alpha Centauri Bb is an exoplanet orbiting Alpha Centauri B. It is asserted that given the close distance to the star the planet should be tidally locked. The orbiting period of the planet is about ...
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34 views

Advancement of perihelion, data

I was looking for accurate and up-to-date data regarding the advancement of the perihelion of the planets in the Solar System, the only ones I've found so far are at least 90 years old bout I really ...
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1answer
53 views

Apocalypse on earth

What would it feel like on Earth if the Earth accelerated due to sudden changes in the solar system like ejection of another planet? Would there be giant tidal waves and other cataclysmic events?
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1answer
236 views

Are there large underground caverns on Mars?

Scientists talk about the possibility of life underground on Mars, and I assume they are talking about microscopic life that can live in small gaps in the soil or rock. But is there any evidence that ...
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1answer
156 views

Planetary gas giants

I've read that a gas giant, like Jupiter, doesn't have a rocky surface. But planets must start as a rocky conglomerate of flotsam. Is the interior so hot that all the material is molten and there ...
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2answers
108 views

Did the Late Heavy Bombardment Period Happen Because of a Stellar System Collision?

I was thinking about the impending collision between M31 and the milky way galaxy, and I've heard that since a galaxy is mostly space most of the contents of both galaxies would be just fine. Could a ...
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2answers
191 views

Selecting a Telescope for Viewing Planets

I hope to observe planets like Jupiter and Saturn, and moons. I am a novice when it comes to telescopes and I know images in magazines are not taken with at least 12-inch telescope in a middle of ...
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1answer
398 views

Is a spotting scope or binoculars a better choice for astronomy?

I'm interested in observing the moon and planets, and maybe some nebulae and star clusters. I have a pair of binoculars: Nikon OceanPro 7x50 binoculars (around \$300) Celestron 20x80 binoculars ...
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2answers
89 views

any unique phenomenon when the cores of two planets are aligned with their star's core?

Imagine a line passing through the cores of two planets (in the same planetary system) and their star. Have we ever witnessed this - either with both planets on the same side of the star or on ...