4
votes
2answers
431 views

What mechanism causes oscillations of the solar system's orbit about the galactic plane?

In a recent paper (news release here) Lisa Randall and Matthew Reece propose that a dark matter disk coinciding with the galactic plane together with the solar system's oscillations through the ...
4
votes
1answer
384 views

Can an amateur astronomer bounce a laser off the moon?

In the TV show "Big Bang Theory" episode "The Lunar Excitation", the gang fires a laser from their rooftop, bounces it off mirrors on the moon, and measures the laser coming back on a computer. Is ...
4
votes
2answers
221 views

A clock travelling “faster than the speed of light” [closed]

When a clock travels close to the speed of light as observed by us, it should tick slower. Does this mean that, when using this clock to measure a second - it could travel much more than 300 000 km ...
4
votes
2answers
358 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
66 views

Is there an oxide layer on aluminum reflectors for telescopes?

I was watching a Nottingham Science video linked here (periodic videos) and they mention modern reflectors are made of aluminum. I can understand why mirrors are preferred over lenses, but what ...
4
votes
1answer
291 views

Convert coordinates between RA/dec and WGS 84 (SRID=4326)

I've imported the HYG Database from http://www.astronexus.com/node/34 and now I need to convert all RA/dec stars positions to fit in a WGS 84 coordinates (SRID=4326) PostGIS map (-180 to 180, 90 to ...
4
votes
2answers
68 views

What happens to the energy from a GRB?

A gamma ray burst produces somewhere around 1044 J of energy, according to Wikipedia. Only a small portion of that energy will be absorbed by other objects. The rest of that energy will go on to ...
4
votes
2answers
125 views

How many minutes does a sundial change every day?

I'm planning to create a sundial in Ghana (10° 28.852', 0° 26.032') in July 2014. I will stay there for about 3 weeks. Do I need to adjust the numbers anywhere in these 3 weeks? I know the shadow's ...
4
votes
2answers
193 views

What is the relationship between the focal length and f number of a telescope compared to a guide scope?

How do you determine the optimal length of a guide scope for a given imaging telescope? I imagine it would have to take into consideration the pixel size of the guide scope, but would the aperture ...
4
votes
2answers
378 views

How to plot orbit of binary star and calculate its orbital elements?

I have a set of dates, position angles ($\theta$) and angular separations ($\rho$) for visual binary star. For example: ...
4
votes
2answers
377 views

Telescope buying guide for a beginner in India

I am located in the southern part of India and am looking forward to buy a telescope to gaze up to look ay farther planets, moons in our solar system and take pictures. How should I go about getting a ...
4
votes
1answer
41 views

Could a cryo-volcano be the reason behind this colour difference in Iapetus's hemispheres?

Iapetus's hemisphere facing Saturn is dark, whereas the opposite one is bright. Could a cryo-volcano be the reason behind this colour difference in Iapetus's hemispheres?
4
votes
1answer
127 views

What are the next planned space telescopes?

We've had hubble for two decades. Its become the most famous space telescope, and lately Kepler seems to be running for the second place. Are there any more powerful, better telescopes planned for ...
4
votes
1answer
126 views

Does gravitational lensing cause a black-hole to be the main 'source' of light in a given area?

Light gets bent around high-gravity sources, such as a black-hole. A source of light, say A, is directly observed in its 'true' position and some of its light is bent around the black-hole, X, which ...
4
votes
1answer
51 views

How much did we know about asteroids at the beginning of the 20th century?

When was the nature and size of asteroids discovered? I was under the impression that it was not until the 1980s or 1990s with deeper space probes and Hubble imagery that we learned the nature of ...
4
votes
2answers
47 views

Where to obtain Tycho Brahe's data?

I would like to obtain Tycho Brahe's data on Mars. What would be an authoritative source? One source I could find is this page (the data is given as an Excel file) but I have no idea can that be ...
4
votes
1answer
111 views

How likely is it that the Sun will destroy our electric society?

Given the studies of the Sun and similar stars and the most impressive understanding of its physics, is there any kind of probability distribution for its dangerous behavior? There are also some ...
4
votes
2answers
149 views

Is there an element of chance/chaos in stellar evolution?

Since stars are an ideal example of macroscopic objects, is their evolution determined by their initial mass and metallicity? Are there any non-trivial random internal processes going on that may ...
4
votes
1answer
68 views

Is CMB Polarization simply the temperature gradient of the CMB?

Firstly, I have to admit that I don't fully comprehend the concept of "CMB Polarization". When I think of "Polarization", I normally think of the optical definition of polarization, as defined by the ...
4
votes
2answers
102 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
67 views

Typical wavelength of solar flare

I read that solar flares are customarily viewed in H-alpha light, as a temporary brightening of a small portion of chromosphere. What all can be interpreted from this? Is it because, energy of the ...
4
votes
1answer
64 views

What will New Horizons be able to say about a magnetic field at Pluto?

Does NASA's New Horizons flyby probe to Pluto have instruments to measure Pluto's (or Charon's) magnetic field, if any? I'm a bit confused by the Wikipedia article which says that New Horizons, ...
4
votes
1answer
99 views

How bright are the outer planets, when at close range?

Seven probes have passed by or orbited outer planets. I wonder how their photos differ from the naked eye view one would have if one were actually there. Saturn is 10 AU from the Sun, which means ...
4
votes
1answer
88 views

Energetics of Titans Tholin haze

So, I've googled and wiki'd on this, but no clue, so I turn my question to the community: Given Titan's nice orange haze that is supposedly composed of Tholins and strangely coincides with its ...
4
votes
1answer
88 views

Is early life required for life?

I was watching the new Cosmos and Neil DeGrasse Tyson said something that made me go hmmm... He mentioned that the only reason that the Earth did not experience the runaway greenhouse effect like ...
4
votes
1answer
75 views

Is it conceivable that the presence of chlorophyll (or similar) could be distinguishable from other chemicals on an exoplanet?

If an Earth-like exoplanet had a sufficiently extensive plant biosphere (i.e large forests, aquatic algal mats etc), is it at all conceivable that scientists could spectroscopically detect the ...
4
votes
1answer
32 views

Tools for creating a multiwavelength view of the sky

Not sure that this is the correct place to ask this question, but here goes. I am trying to find tools to accumulate image data (preferably in FITS format) on a given (RA, Dec)-coordinate of sky. ...
4
votes
2answers
112 views

Assuming a sufficient amount of mass above the density threshold, does the actual concentration of the mass matter in creating a black hole?

I've heard that the actual density of a black hole (within the volume of the event horizon) is pretty low - does that mean that any sufficiently large volume of mass over that density is also a black ...
4
votes
1answer
27 views

Save current state in ds9?

After fooling around with a FITS file(s) (e.g. setting scale, changing color) is it possible to save the session such that there is a file associated with all those tweaks the next time I open it up? ...
4
votes
1answer
37 views

meaning of p-wave charmonia

What exactly does p-wave mean when referring to particles, like charmonia states. For example, see the following reference: http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-ph/9208254 My doubt is - p wave in scattering ...
4
votes
1answer
117 views

What is the explanation for rapid inflation just after the big bang?

I often hear about cosmic inflation occurring rapidly after the Big Bang, but have never came across any explanation for it. What supposedly caused this inflationary period in the early universe? ...
4
votes
1answer
33 views

2SB mixer in radio astronomy?

In literature about the instrumentation of radio astronomy, I frequently come across a type of mixer described as "2SB". I'm familiar with single-sideband (SSB) and double-sideband (DSB) mixers, but ...
4
votes
1answer
82 views

What kind of collision of celestial bodies would be visible to the naked eye?

When asteroids crash into the Moon they give of huge amounts of energy resulting in a "bright" flash, as can be seen in this video. At the end of the video its also says that anyone looking at the ...
4
votes
1answer
50 views

Where will I be able to see the Lyrid meteor shower?

So supposedly the Lyrids meteor shower will take place between early morning April 16th to 22nd - correct me if I am wrong. I am aged 15 and am interested in skywatching, I just wondered will it be ...
4
votes
1answer
197 views

Why are most planetary orbits nearly circular

In our solar system, with the exception of Pluto all planets follow a relatively circular orbit around the Sun, at the same inclination. They also all rotate in the same direction, none are ...
4
votes
1answer
62 views

Are many exoplanets synchronously tidally locked like Mercury?

The only tidally locked planet in the Solar system i Mercury. But it is synchronously tidally locked 3:2, because of the relatively high eccentricity of its orbit, so doesn't turn the same side ...
4
votes
1answer
320 views

Latest sunrise/earliest sunset out of phase with solstice?

Everybody knows that the shortest and longest days of the year occur on the solstices. However, examination of sunrise/sunset tables shows that the maxima and minima of sunrise/sunset times are ...
4
votes
1answer
159 views

Could something temporarily break the Moon's tidal lock?

Would it be possible for something to cause the Moon to start rotating at a different rate, breaking its tidal lock with Earth, without ripping it apart? If so, would the Moon's tidal lock eventually ...
4
votes
1answer
98 views

Brightest Radio Source In the Universe

I would have assumed that the brightest radio source in the Universe is a quasar of some kind (perhaps 3C 273) given that the average pulsar has luminosity of $~10^{40} \text{Watts}$ and this is the ...
4
votes
2answers
88 views

Is sundial time entirely dependent on solar azimuth?

I've visited several "how sundials work" sites and can't seem to get a clear answer to this: is "sundial time" just a linear function of solar azimuth? More specifically: When the sun is due ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How to measure the altitude and azimuth of a star?

Given that the star is crossing the local meridian line in a certain location, I've tried calculating the altitude of a star by finding the difference between the declination of the star and the ...
4
votes
1answer
37 views

Are we still in the Solar Maximus stage? Will this winter 2013/14 be a good aurora-viewing season?

I remember reading in 2011 that 2013/2014 would be the peak of the current solar maximus, but I want to confirm whether that is still ongoing. Will the upcoming winter season be a good time to see ...
4
votes
3answers
209 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
193 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!
4
votes
1answer
60 views

Can astronomical radio sources be used as a verifiable randomness beacon?

A randomness beacon is a source of random data that is broadcast to multiple parties. Users listening to the beacon receive the same sequence of random strings and no one can predict the values in ...
4
votes
1answer
125 views

How many new galaxies enter the observable universe each day/year/decade?

Each day light has more time to reach our eyes from distant galaxies. In one day, light travels 2.59×10^10 km. So our observable universe (assuming my simple math skills apply here and there isn't ...
4
votes
1answer
119 views

Maximum Amplitude of a Lissajous Orbiting Object in a L4 or L5 Position

I stumbled on The Lagrangian points during some wikipedia reading. After looking at the gravity contours, I naturally come to the conclusion that the L4 & L5 should have a wave pattern and then ...
4
votes
1answer
152 views

How did Copernicus get the idea of heliocentric model?

The heliocentric model marked the beginning of modern astronomy. But what were the reasons which led Copernicus to think that the earth orbited the sun. I've read that his model was based on ...
4
votes
1answer
58 views

Density of hydrogen between galaxies

From watching a video on youtube, it states that Dark Matter is 6 times more abundant than known matter. I was wondering if it was possible to have hydrogen clouds between the universes galaxies. The ...
4
votes
2answers
132 views

Galactic Habitable Zone

Do galaxies have habitable zones the same as stars do? Say in a galaxy with a very active nucleus producing a lot of heat and radiation, would there be a point at which no star's planets could harbor ...

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