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16
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1answer
249 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
276 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
716 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?
13
votes
1answer
441 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
310 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
121 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?
10
votes
2answers
262 views

How often do stars pass close (~1ly) to the Sun?

Interstellar exchange of massive objects is difficult across several light years. But as the stars orbit the galaxy the distances between them change. I don't find data for neighbor star distances ...
10
votes
1answer
160 views

If we count Avogadro's Number of stars that are closest to Earth, how big that space would be?

I posted this as a question to Scientific Imagination (Area 51 proposal) a while ago. And it was suggested that this question "is perfectly acceptable on Astronomy SE", since "it's about stellar ...
10
votes
2answers
141 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?
10
votes
2answers
120 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
125 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.
10
votes
2answers
417 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
372 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?
9
votes
2answers
197 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
201 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
170 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
2answers
93 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
108 views

Appearance (frequency) 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
655 views

What causes the dimensions of a star increase when its hydrogen fuel is exhausted?

What causes the dimensions of a star increase when its hydrogen fuel is exhausted? For example, the Sun is expected to increase its radius 250 times. What causes this if its temperature is expected to ...
8
votes
2answers
208 views

Are there a lot of collisions between stars in the core of the galaxy?

I'm reading on Wikipedia about Halo Stars that orbit the center of the galaxy at a high inclination away from the plane of the Milky Way. It seems that at some point, these stars must dive back into ...
7
votes
1answer
90 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
48 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
112 views

Is it safer to be near a star or a black hole?

If a star or black hole neared the solar system, which would do the least damage? For the sake of a good comparison, lets assume the candidate star is an "average" 5 solar mass star, and the black ...
7
votes
1answer
150 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
90 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
660 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
82 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
68 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
391 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
101 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
150 views

Magnetic fields of peculiar HgMn A type stars

Do HgMn (peculiar A type) stars really possess global magnetic fields? See, for example, this paper by Hubrig et al. from 2012.
5
votes
4answers
345 views

Are the stars in constellation located in a plane or they are in different distances

Are the stars in constellation located in a plane or they are in different distances from each other and when we observe them from the Earth we think they are all in a plane?
5
votes
4answers
166 views

Burning Out Stars

In the book "A Really Short History Of Nearly Everything", I read that the larger the star is, the faster it burns itself. Whys that? Wouldn't there be more energy to burn if it's larger, and just be ...
5
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
279 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. ...
5
votes
1answer
597 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
147 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
84 views

Metallicity of Celestial Objects: Why “Metal = Non-metal”?

Metallicity of objects refers to the amount of chemical elements present in it other than Hydrogen and Helium. Note: The other elements may or may not be actual ...
5
votes
1answer
83 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?
5
votes
2answers
183 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
184 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
2answers
119 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.
4
votes
3answers
120 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
2answers
149 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?
4
votes
2answers
192 views

Are there stars that don't emit visible light?

Are there stars that do not emit any light in the visible part of the EM spectrum?
4
votes
1answer
159 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
115 views

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. ...
4
votes
2answers
81 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
89 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 ...