Questions regarding large spheres of gas undergoing fusion.

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Perceiving movement of stars

Are there any stars visible to the naked eye whose position, over a normal human lifetime, can be seen to have changed (relative to other stars in the vicinity)?
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What is the origin of the OBAFGKM classification system?

Once a body has been identified as a star it is classified into a subsection of either O,B,A,F,G,K or M (I think there are also 3 more letters recently added) What is the origin of this ...
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1answer
391 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
336 views

Are stars NML Cygni, UY Scuti, VY Canis Majoris and VV Cephei near the ends of their lives?

Are the four stars mentioned in the title stars that are going to go supernova, or are they stars that are in mid-life, like our Sun, but just happen to be so much larger than our Sun?
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2answers
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Where do the heavier elements come from?

Partly inspired by this question, the end result of stellar fusion is Iron-56 (eventually, after some decay). Then it explodes. How/where then to the heavier elements come from. The answer here ...
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4answers
524 views

Do solar systems have to evolve in a galaxy?

Is it possible for a solar system like ours to exist and evolve apart from all other star systems and galaxies. Sort of like a stand alone solar system or rogue solar system for lack of a better name. ...
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1answer
221 views

Why does squinting make hard-to-see objects clearer?

So I, like most other astronomy enthusiasts, have, at some point, not been able to see something clearly, such as a star, and have had to squint to be able to see it better. When this happens, the ...
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1answer
166 views

Can a star have a ring system?

I often hear about planetary ring systems, and even some moons might have them, but how about stars? Can a star also have rings?
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1answer
106 views

How small a star can provide Sun-level illumination to its planets?

...or how small can a solar system be, to sustain an Earth-like planet? Sun is not really small, and 1AU is pretty far when you look at orbital radii of exoplanets and size of their stars. How small ...
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2answers
97 views

Does Tobler's First Law of Geography Apply to Star Composition?

There is a principle in Geography called Tobler's First Law of Geography which states that "Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things." Does this ...
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2answers
544 views

What would happen if a body were to fall into a neutron star?

We know neutron stars as a very massive object with extremely strong gravitational forces that composes mostly of neutrons. I couldn't help but wonder, what would happen if an object fell into a ...
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1answer
136 views

How often are new astronomical objects (variable stars, supernovae, comets, etc) discovered by amateurs?

How often are new astronomical objects (variable stars, supernovae, comets, etc) discovered by amateurs? Where could one report new findings?
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1answer
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How can we be sure that we have identified very distant stars correctly?

From reading this question on calculating distance to stars and from a bit of background reading on the standard candle theory I still don't see how we can confirm that a star we see at one distance ...
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3answers
297 views

Is there enough hydrogen left after a star dies so another star will have enough to light up?

A star consumes quite a lot of hydrogen in its life, and is pretty much "vacuuming" everything in its vicinity. After it dies (eventually by supernova which will spread all its composition over light ...
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2answers
273 views

Statistically, what would the average distance of the closest black hole be?

The closest confirmed black hole is several thousand light years away from earth. Our galaxy has about 100 billion stars. I didn't find any reliable information on the black hole count of ratio versus ...
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1answer
103 views

How would light from a blue or red star affect the way we see?

How would things look if we saw them through the light of a blue or red star? Would there be any changes?
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1answer
150 views

Can I see the star of Bethlehem at Christmas? [closed]

In the Christian tradition the first Christians are believed to be three wise men who followed the star of Bethlehem to the stable where Jesus was supposed to be born. Is it with some accuracy known ...
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1answer
140 views

Entropy of black hole

A line from one of the answers on a different question got me thinking: The simplest way to see this is probably that a black hole has a much higher entropy than a star or even another type of ...
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1answer
91 views

What is the brightest star (relative magnitude) in M31?

I am wondering what the brightest individual star is in M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. Specifically, brightest as seen from Earth (so relative magnitude).
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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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1answer
73 views

Astronomical databases for machine learning?

I was reading this question about open problems in astronomy. The bounty-receiving answer says that I have just left the field where some colleagues are trying to develop some software to use ...
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2answers
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Is there any planet/star bigger than VY Canis Majoris?

Compared to VY Canis Majoris, our Sun is more like a speck of space dust. Is there any planet or star which is known to us that is bigger than the VY Canis Majoris?
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3answers
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What would the night sky look like if Earth orbited an intergalactic star?

If the Earth and its host star were located exactly in-between the Milky Way and Andromeda would the night sky be completely void of light? Would stars be visible to the unaided eye? So there could ...
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5answers
397 views

Why aren't there galaxy-sized balls of iron out there?

Since we know that stars burn out, collapse, or blow up when too many of their atoms fuse inti iron, then how come, with all the ancient galaxies we've been observing, there isn't one galaxy whose ...
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1answer
313 views

Why can we see stars but not astronaut on the moon

A question came up today in astronomy class and it got me wondering all night. How is it that if stars are so far away, we can see them so clearly but we cannot see astronauts on the moon.
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3answers
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What gases are needed to make a star?

What gases do you need to start the creation of a star, and why do you need these gases? What are their functions?
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2answers
282 views

Can we see individual stars in other galaxies?

Just wondering if we can examine individual stars from other galaxies, or if we are pretty much stuck with the billions that are in the Milky Way?
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3answers
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Pulsation Modes of Cepheids

There are various modes of Cepheids like single modes: fundamental (F), first overtone (1O), and likewise. And then we have double modes: F/1O, 1O/2O etc. triple modes: 1O/2O/3O etc. ...
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2answers
328 views

Does the earth's atmosphere act as a spherical lens and refract light from space?

If so by how much does it "spoil" the view of stars and galaxies etc. Is this error noticable, when compared to pictures taken from outer space.
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1answer
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Estimating the angle covered by the star trails and deducing how long the exposure lasted

How would you estimate the angle covered by the star trails and deduce how long the exposure lasted in the following image? Here is the photo's caption: Star trails beyond the Gemini ...
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3answers
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Is there a flaw with the newer purposes and correlations attributed to the HR diagram? (And would a third axis of mass correct the enclosed flaw?)

When I was younger, I was looking at HR diagrams, and began to experiment with the HR diagram. I was looking at plotting different groups of stars on the HR diagram when I found RV Tauri stars. ...
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1answer
70 views

How many stars are in the Sculptor Dwarf Galaxy?

The Sculptor Dwarf Galaxy is a small satellite Galaxy of the Milky Way. There are many such satellites galaxies and I'm trying to compile basic data on them. However, I can't find an estimate for the ...
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1answer
107 views

Why is metallicity important in the death of stars?

I always thought that mass was the sole determinant of a star's fate. Then I saw the table here. So why does metallicity influence a star's ability to become a black hole or neutron star? Does it have ...
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1answer
189 views

At what density does helium burning start in a star?

I have seen several references that say that helium burning begins in a star once the core temperature reaches $10^8$K (such as here) but nowhere that says what density that corresponds to. Does ...
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2answers
237 views

Accurate way to programmatically generate a main sequence star?

I am working on a (personal) programming project, part of which involves generating random stars and their parameters. In order to create a procedurally generated star, I want to randomly select as ...
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2answers
145 views

Why do we think that there is no two-solar-mass black hole?

We think that the mass boundary between neutron stars and stellar mass black holes is around three solar masses. The maximum mass of the neutron stars now is two solar masses and we may find a 2.6 ...
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4answers
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Without using absolute magnitudes or isochrones, how might we tell a star's age and evolutionary status?

Usual methods of estimating stellar ages involve isochrone approximations. It can also help to estimate a star's radius by correlating its absolute magnitude with effective temperature and apparent ...
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1answer
33 views

Why do pre-main sequence stars show lithium in absorption?

This paper and this paper state without discussion that the presence of lithium absorption in the stars they observe as strong evidence of these stars being pre-main sequence stars. Because they state ...
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3answers
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Could the KIC 8462852 (Alien megastructure star) be explained by orbiting gas clouds?

I was wondering about the light dimming of the 'alien megastructure' star. From what I understand, for it to be a planetary body, it would have to be some 20 times the size of Jupiter. Is it possible ...
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1answer
186 views

Are black holes solely responsible for hyper velocity stars?

I read that the stars orbiting around Sagittarius A* (a.k.a the supermassive black hole located at the heart of the Milky Way) move very fast (many times faster than our Sun moves across the galaxy), ...
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2answers
308 views

How much mass will the Sun have when it becomes a white dwarf?

In 4 billion years, when our Sun sheds all of its outer gas layers and turns into a white dwarf, how much mass will the white dwarf have compared to what the sun has today? Will the planets still ...
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1answer
103 views

Cooling of stars

If all stars suddenly stopped producing heat (or heating up) which stars would cool to absolute zero first and how long would it take?
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100 views

Why are stars more metallic closer as you move closer to the galactic bulge?

As I see it, most of the stars in the galactic bulge are Population I stars. However, as one moves farther from the galactic bulge, star metallicity decreases. In fact, halo stars are almost entirely ...
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1answer
45 views

Do the magnetic fields of stars and/or other planets reverse?

I've heard of the magnetic field of the earth reversing poles over the course of thousands of years but do stars and other planets (specifically gas giants) also experience this? If so how does it ...
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2answers
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Why are there no stars on New Horizons images of Pluto

I followed the New Horizons Mission a little, and saw among others this image of Pluto: I wonder, why you can't see any stars on it. As far as my very basic knowledge in astronomy goes, I think you ...
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1answer
232 views

What does designation VY, NML, UU in star names stand for?

I've read the a IAU page on the subject but i am no closer to understanding how this works. Also did search the already asked question, but didn't see anything on the subject. What does bolded item ...
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2answers
240 views

Is there anywhere I can find some kind of database on all known stars and their properties (mass, surface temperature, radius, and luminosity)?

I have been looking for some kind of collection of all known stars and their individual respective mass/radius/temperature/and luminosity, can you link me to one if it exists? My goal is to write an ...
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1answer
85 views

Why is there billowing dust in nebulae?

Why do some nebulae look like the billowing clouds? Wouldn't that require something like a viscosity in empty space?
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1answer
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Where are we in an approximate timeline of the possibly habitable universe?

Our universe is supposedly 13+ billion years old and our Sun is a third generation star. It seems to me that we are now in a relatively young stage of the universe. How many generations of stars will ...
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1answer
144 views

When will Sirius be closest to the solar system?

Sirius is currently approaching the solar system, at a rate of 5.5 km/s, consequently in the future it will be closer and therefore brighter. When will Sirius pass closest to the solar system? How far ...