Questions regarding large spheres of gas undergoing fusion.

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16
votes
1answer
129 views

What causes a star to become a pulsar?

What processes does a star undergo to become a pulsar? Does it take a very specific star with a certain set of qualities such as "Just the right mass, diameter, and composition," or is it a freak ...
12
votes
4answers
535 views

Is the light we see from stars extremely old?

Our nearest star Proxima Centauri is 4.243 light years away from Earth. Does that mean we are seeing light that is 4.243 years old everyday?
12
votes
3answers
203 views

Are we made of the stuff of one star or more stars?

[T]his coincidence enabled stars in the late stages of their lives to turn helium into carbon, oxygen and most of the other atoms that you and I are made of. [...] [W]e're made of star stuff. Max ...
12
votes
1answer
152 views

What does it mean for a star to go nova or supernova? Can I safely observe these?

What does it mean for a star when people say it goes 'nova' or super nova, what are the differences? More importantly, can I safely observe these with an amateur telescope? I imagine they would be ...
9
votes
2answers
93 views

How hot must a star get before it is considered to be a star?

How hot must a star get before it actually becomes a star? Why does it need to get so hot? Please find an official site to quote from, if you can.
9
votes
1answer
92 views

What happens to a star after it has become a red giant?

When our sun reaches the end of its lifetime , it will turn into a red giant. How long will it be a red giant, and what happens after a star has been a red giant? Does it turn into a planet after a ...
9
votes
1answer
84 views

Is there a theoretical maximum size limit for a star?

Some stars are simply huge. Eventually, though, wouldn't there be simply too much pressure or mass for the star to sustain itself? Wouldn't it eventually collapse into a black hole? Is there a ...
9
votes
2answers
115 views

Calculate Distance To Stars

I was just watching a lecture from Carl Sagan. He talked about figuring out the distance to the stars; it got me interested in learning more about the subject. As far as I know, the Inverse square ...
9
votes
1answer
206 views

Why do stars appear to twinkle?

Sometimes at night you will look up to the stars and they will appear to twinkle, getting brighter and darker in bursts. Why does this happen? Is this because of our atmosphere? Would they twinkle ...
8
votes
2answers
83 views

What is the upper and lower limit of temperatures found on stars?

What are the most extreme temperatures (both hot and cold) stars have been detected at? Is there an upper and lower limit for the detected temperature of stars?
8
votes
2answers
157 views

Will new stars stop forming at some point of time?

New stars keep forming in the universe thanks to all the nebulae. Now, we need Hydrogen to form stars and there would a time when all the hydrogen will get exhausted, and no more star formation will ...
8
votes
2answers
77 views

What is radiation pressure and how does it prevent a star from forming?

This is a follow up to: Is there a theoretical maximum size limit for a star? The answer there talks about the radiation pressure preventing a star from forming. What reaction is causing this ...
8
votes
2answers
76 views

How do stellar temperatures vary?

The temperature of the surface of the Sun (photosphere) is between 4500° - 6000° Kelvin. Inside the core, it's around 15.7 million degrees Kelvin. In other types of stars (neutron stars, white ...
7
votes
2answers
249 views

Why are orbits elliptical instead of circular?

Why do planets rotate around a star in a specific elliptical orbit with the star at one of it's foci? Why isn't the orbit a circle?
7
votes
1answer
66 views

Appearance (popularity) ranking of stars?

Is there some ranking / statistics that shows how common given type of celestial objects is? A table that would allow the answers to questions like: What type of star is most common per volume of our ...
7
votes
1answer
42 views

How would the pocket cellular clock work?

In a museum in Lviv, I saw a pocket cellular clock. I don't have a photo, but it was a small disc that had 2 or 3 filaments in it which were pointed at the stars (one of them was Andromeda, I think). ...
7
votes
1answer
60 views

Have we observed any rogue/wandering stars?

Do we know (have we observed and cataloged) any rogue star, being not part of galaxy, but drifting somewhere in inter-galactic space? I know that determining if a star is a part of galaxy or not is a ...
6
votes
3answers
45 views

Are there ways other than the collapse of a star which have been observed to form black holes?

Every time I hear about a black hole, it's always in conjunction with the collapse of a star. Have any other processes been observed to create a black hole?
6
votes
3answers
216 views

How do scientists determine the age of stars?

I was Googling about the oldest galaxies in the Universe. Everywhere is written that their age is known by the light. Referring to this line "Since light travels at a set speed, if you look at a star ...
6
votes
1answer
55 views

How many stars can stay close to each other without collapsing?

Is it possible for two stars to exist close to each other? "Close" is relative; let's assume that two stars are close to each other if they are at the center of the same solar system. It's ...
6
votes
1answer
68 views

How do you figure out the magnitude of stars?

How do you figure out the star magnitude of a star? Do they just give it a guess or what? If not, how do they figure it out accurately?
6
votes
1answer
48 views

How do large solar flares compare to flares on other stars?

Solar are violent releases of solar magnetic energy. Other stars are also known to have magnetic fields, in some cases much stronger than the Sun. How do the largest stellar flares compare to the ...
6
votes
1answer
86 views

Do stars of a galaxy change their positions relatively to each other?

Complete astronomy noob over here who would be happy if he get a simple answer (and who is also aware that this may be not possible)... I've learned from a tv documentary that the stars at the edge ...
6
votes
1answer
157 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
43 views

What is a hypernova and have we observed any?

Inspired by the question "What does it mean for a star to go nova or supernova? Can I safely observe these?", I am curious about what hypernovas are? Have we observed any occurring, or the at least ...
5
votes
1answer
84 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
74 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
567 views

Did atoms in human body indeed come from stars?

I think I am not alone who saw videos about that we (humans) are made of same atoms which someday were in stars. In other words, some atoms in our bodies are from stars which exploded billions of ...
4
votes
3answers
91 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?
4
votes
1answer
63 views

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 ...
4
votes
3answers
191 views

Very bright star in the east at northern hemisphere. What it is ?

From some time now (few weeks as far as I can remember), there is a very bright star in the eastern sky. I first thought it was Venus, but according to this link, Venus is in the western sky and ...
4
votes
1answer
108 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
125 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
246 views

How many stars and galaxies can be seen naked eye?

How many of the luminous dots that we see naked are galaxies and not stars from our galaxy? I immagine that the majority of the luminous points that we see naked eye during the night, are actually ...
3
votes
4answers
159 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. ...
3
votes
2answers
38 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.
3
votes
2answers
78 views

What is the term for a star swallowing another star?

A star A goes through the body of another star B, or is swallowed by B. There is no tidal disruption. It sounds like kerzan. Does anybody recognise this pronunciation?
3
votes
2answers
153 views

How to measure distances to stars by means of spectroscopic parallaxes?

How to measure distances to stars by means of spectroscopic parallaxes on practice? What is the accuracy of measuring distances using this method compared with distances based on HIPPARCOS ...
3
votes
2answers
83 views

How long does it take to produce a star? Why does it take that long?

I wonder, why stars take a really long time to become stars? Is it because it needs to gain mass? Or heat up? Something like that? And could it be sped up at all?
3
votes
1answer
55 views

How is the magnitude of a star measured?

How does one measure the brightness of a star?, I did not find anything on the internet.
3
votes
1answer
44 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?
3
votes
1answer
103 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
78 views

Magnetic fields of peculiar HgMn A type stars

Are HgMn (peculiar A type) stars really possess global magnetic fields? See, for example, paper Hubrig et al. 2012: http://arxiv.org/abs/1208.2910
2
votes
3answers
216 views

First night on a telescope questions

So I recently got into astronomy and I am using my fathers old Meade EQ1-B reflector telescope. This is my first night using it and I have come across a few questions. To begin, the telescope was left ...
2
votes
3answers
82 views

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?
2
votes
3answers
91 views

Do stars have exactly sphere shape?

Planets (at least, some of them like Earth) aren't exactly spherical - but what about stars? Is Sun perfectly spherical, for example? What may be the reasons if it isn't? What about other stars?
2
votes
1answer
70 views

why are galaxies different in color?

whether its in movies,television,real-life or some planetarium different galaxies are shown in different color. For ex:- Milky way is always seen in Blue where as Andromeda gives out a bit reddish ...
2
votes
1answer
56 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?
2
votes
2answers
60 views

Absolute magnitudes of stars

Where to find comprehensive list of absolute magnitudes for stars of different spectral types? I need published paper or web page with data and reference to the source.
2
votes
1answer
51 views

Star names and the HYG Database

Related to Convert coordinates between RA/dec and WGS 84 (SRID=4326). WARNING: I'm a noob in astronomy. After import all stars from HYG Database (http://www.astronexus.com/node/34) I noticed some ...