Questions regarding celestial bodies in orbit around a star.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

14
votes
3answers
673 views

Does a planet's mass or gravity affect the height of it's mountains?

According to this Wikipedia page, the top five highest mountains on Mars (and the highest on Venus) are all taller than Mount Everest (and Mauna Kea as measured from the ocean floor). Does a planet's ...
13
votes
2answers
435 views

What physical features determine if a planet is a major, minor or dwarf planet?

Like many, when I was growing up, we always were taught, hence always learned that there were 9 planets. However, recently, decisions were made and all of a sudden there were 8 major planets and a ...
6
votes
1answer
4k views

Best telescope for the viewing of Nebulae, Stars and Planets

So, I am a 15 year old interested into astronomy. My father used to have a reflector telescope, but was never so serious about it that he could recommend me a good telescope. I am looking to buy a ...
14
votes
3answers
698 views

Why do (most of) the planets rotate counterclockwise, i.e. the same way the Sun does?

Referring to the mechanisms explaining the solar system formation and to the initial rotation of the gaseous cloud that collapsed, I understand easily why the planets orbit the Sun the same way this ...
9
votes
1answer
190 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
166 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
267 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 ...
33
votes
3answers
3k views

How many planets are there in this solar system?

So, in school (that's a long time age) they have been teaching us there are 9 planets in our solar system. Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto But every now and then I ...
17
votes
3answers
953 views

Can small gas planets exist?

Most of the known gas planets (Jupiter, Saturn, etc.) are huge. They are even called "gas giants". is it possible to exist a gas planet around the size of Earth? If yes, why; if no, why?
7
votes
2answers
313 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
309 views

Why does a planet rotate and revolve?

Why do planets rotate and revolve in the universe?
13
votes
2answers
373 views

Is there a upper limit to the number of planets orbiting a star?

Our sun has 8 planets orbiting as well as a number of dwarf planets. Are there any calculations that hint as to whether this number is close to some theoretical maximum value or are we simply an ...
10
votes
1answer
142 views

Were effects of a planetary magnetic field reversal observed on other planets than Earth?

From geological records in rocks and minerals we know that the magnetic field of Earth changed its polarity multiple times in the history. See Geomagnetic reversal. Was a similar process of a ...
4
votes
1answer
126 views

Any cheap (less than 100 euro) telescope for observing Jupiter? [closed]

The moon is not challenging. I would like to observe the big planets and their rings.
3
votes
3answers
280 views

Inclination of planets

Why do the planets have roughly the same inclination with respect to Earth? Looking at the inclinations, which I got from http://www.astronomynotes.com/tables/tablesb.htm , we see that Mercury has ...
5
votes
1answer
360 views

How small can a planet be and still have Earth-like gravity?

A planet made from denser material than Earth might have equal gravity to Earth but a smaller radius. How small can a planet be and still have Earth gravity? Ideally it should be habitable by humans, ...
4
votes
2answers
528 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
89 views

Do planetary surface temperatures change in unison in a solar system?

Are there any known correlations between the changes in planetary surface temperatures in a solar system? If so, do the farthest planets have smaller albeit correlated changes?
2
votes
2answers
330 views

the most accurate system that can show the positions of planets at my birthday [closed]

My birthday : 4 December 1982 If you have such astronomical calculator on your computer please send me the result ! Alternatively if you know an online astronomical service for my purpose please ...
1
vote
2answers
252 views

How did Jupiter form where it is?

Since Jupiter is the biggest planet in our solar system and is made up of mostly hydrogen and helium, (the gases the Sun uses to create energy), how come it didn't form as far out as say Uranus or ...
1
vote
1answer
196 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
109 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 ...