5
votes
1answer
92 views

What Is The Great Attractor?

I've heard that there is something called the Great Attractor which seems to have some kind of gravitational influence on objects in the Universe. Is this some kind of theoretical notion posited in ...
6
votes
1answer
65 views

What is a Barlow lens?

I am looking to buy a Celestron 21023 FirstScope 76 Telescope, which is quite inexpensive, and it has good reviews on Amazon. One thing that many reviewers have said is that the two lenses that it ...
11
votes
1answer
164 views

Our galaxy, the Milky Way, forms part of a galaxy group called The Local Group. What are the parameters that dictate what a galaxy group is?

Are there different classifications or just the one? How does our galaxy group compare with others?
3
votes
0answers
146 views

What skills would a software developer need to get a job in space research or exploration organization? [closed]

I am in the field of software programming. What skills should I brush up and gear up to get a job in space exploration and the observatory industry? What are various job profiles in terms of software ...
4
votes
1answer
150 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
76 views

Which planet or moon has all resources that can be used to sustain life in a controlled biosphere? [closed]

Now that we are making it to Mars, continuing onward, in an effort for humanity to civilize other planets, not just setting up residential colonies, but to mine minerals and carry on geological and ...
6
votes
1answer
83 views

Can Doppler shift make colors of two stars at same distance different?

As you know, Doppler effect can change the wavelength of the light. Suppose there are two stars at same distance and same temperature. If one star is receding and the other star is approaching, their ...
7
votes
1answer
135 views

How do we know Milky Way is a 'barred' spiral galaxy?

In reference to the question, "How can we tell that the milky way is a spiral galaxy?" The answers there clearly sum up the question asked. But Milky Way is not just a spiral galaxy. It is further ...
3
votes
1answer
85 views

Internet Resource which register all Ultra-long Gamma-Ray Bursts

I read in a scientific magazine there was new gamma bursts that last longer than usual. One was detected during december 2010, also known as Christmas Burst: GRB 101225A and another one in 9th of ...
5
votes
1answer
134 views

Light patch in the night sky [duplicate]

I am so sorry for being ambiguous. I'm not an astronomer and have have never actually even bothered to look at the sky before. I don't have a telescope nor camera. Yet, I'm really really curious ...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

The life course for a massive star from birth to death using the HR Diagram

could you explain to me the life course for a massive star (30-40 solar masses) from birth to death using the HR Diagram (by showing key events in its life on the HR Diagram)? thanks
7
votes
2answers
277 views

Why can you see the space station on some days but not on others?

In my area, from December 17th - 26th, you can see the space station every day, twice But from December 27th - January 6th, you can only see it twice My question is, why does it appear for ...
4
votes
2answers
84 views

What does the term alien planet actually refer to?

This article left me wondering what do they mean by the term alien planet? Aren't all planets simply alien by default, or do they mean planets outside our solar system are alien? Do they mean there is ...
0
votes
2answers
182 views

What is the Exact time earth takes to revolve around its axis [closed]

I read that our day is not exactly 24 hours long. If it is not then why weather seasons come at the same time (Summer, Winter, Autumn Spring) ? how it is equalized ? Update: Sorry I could not make ...
6
votes
1answer
173 views

What caused the comet ISON to disintegrate?

So curious to know why comet ISON disintegrated? Well, it went near the Sun but was the Sun the only reason it died? Or is there any other reason for it's fading away?
1
vote
0answers
62 views

Good Introductory Textbooks [closed]

I have a more mathematical background but have always been interested in astrophysics, cosmology, astronomy, etc. There are a lot of popular books on the subject, but I am getting more interested in ...
14
votes
4answers
536 views

How would the night sky look from inside a globular cluster?

When the weather is clear, we can look at the stars. And we normally would see several thousands of them, they all being more than a $\textrm{pc}$ away from us. Now, there are globular clusters, ...
5
votes
1answer
170 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
46 views

How close are we to having the technology to measure planetary obliquity for exoplanets?

As far as I can tell, we do not yet have the precision to even put reasonable bounds on an exoplanets obliquity, but wikipedia seems to indicate that this may be possible in the "near future." It ...
7
votes
1answer
156 views

Is it possible for a moon to orbit a planet floating free in the galaxy rather than orbiting a star

This article got me thinking, can a planet hold a moon in orbit if it is just floating in the galaxy by itself not as part of a star system? Can a celestial body even qualify as a planet if it is ...
8
votes
3answers
362 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?
2
votes
0answers
35 views

Why the earth revolves? [duplicate]

Why do the earthor any other planet continue to revolve around the sun or a star in general and that also with constant time period?What is the reason behind it?Other than gravitational force is ...
16
votes
4answers
821 views

How can we tell that the Milky Way is a spiral galaxy?

From Earth, we can distinguish the type of another galaxy very easily simply by observing the shape, colour, and structure of the galaxy when we image it. But since we are located inside the Milky ...
4
votes
1answer
114 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
153 views

How stable are Lissajous orbits?

Now that the Gaia Space Telescope is on it's way to the Sun-Earth L2 Lagrangian point (SEL2), I start wondering about the stability of Gaia's orbit there. The Planck Telescope is already there, as was ...
7
votes
1answer
98 views

Did a piece of Halley's comet strike the Earth 1,500 years ago?

A friend showed me an article saying that there's evidence that a piece of Halley's comet may have struck the earth about 1,500 years ago. Is anyone here aware of such evidence?
4
votes
1answer
180 views

Solar Noon: meridian crossing time versus time of maximum elevation

According to the first paragraph of the Noon Wikipedia page, solar noon is the moment when the Sun crosses the meridian and is at its highest elevation in the sky. The wording there suggests that ...
7
votes
1answer
140 views

What can be seen with a 4.5" telescope

I just got a 4.5" Newtonian reflector. The skies haven't been clear where I live lately so I've only been able to use it to see the moon and Jupiter (I was also able to see the Galilean moons). A ...
5
votes
2answers
166 views

What can we expect from the first accurate image of a black hole? (wich will be taken soon)

From recent news from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy: The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded 14 Million Euros to a team of European astrophysicists to construct the first ...
5
votes
2answers
52 views

When is optical refraction important in astronomy?

What are commonly important astrophysical systems/models, where optical refraction is important or necessary to account for? I would kindly ask you not to consider refraction in Earth's atmosphere or ...
7
votes
2answers
360 views

What was the length of year 1 million years back?

We know that the universe is gradually expanding and this indirectly means that the gravitational force between sun, earth, planets and other stars (roughly anything in the universe) is gradually ...
7
votes
1answer
102 views

Timeline of falling into a blackhole

For some "average sized" black hole, how long would it take for a distant (spacesuit-wearing!) astronaut to: be able to see the gravitational lensing with the naked eye clearly feel the gravity ...
4
votes
2answers
149 views

What is the difference between solar wind and solar radiation?

Is there a difference between solar wind and solar radiation or are they just different ways of describing the same thing?
9
votes
2answers
71 views

On (minuscule) dark matter production in supernovae

It is believed that dark matter is made of particles, which interact with matter only weakly and gravitationally. One common candidate for dark matter are so called WIMPs. WIMPs, specifically, are ...
6
votes
2answers
168 views

How does the Milky Way look like above 66° North and below 66° South?

I read on Wikipedia: depending on the time of night and the year, the arc of Milky Way can appear relatively low or relatively high in the sky. For observers from about 65 degrees north to 65 ...
6
votes
2answers
113 views

How to calculate the altitude of the Moon?

With the known latitude coordinate of the observing position, how to find the altitude of the moon when it is high, i.e when it crosses the local meridian?
8
votes
6answers
638 views

Why don't we have 2 Summers and 2 Winters?

Due to Earth's elliptical orbit, its distance from Sun varies by almost 5 million Kilometers (147 million Kilometers at closest point & 152 million Kilometers at farthest point, i.e. almost 3% of ...
3
votes
1answer
75 views

Hypothetical beyond Neptune far away planets orbiting the Sun

The planet HD 106906 b was found at 650 AU from its home star, which is not a star much different from the Sun. Fomalhaut b is also a young planet that is orbiting very far away from its sun. These ...
1
vote
1answer
32 views

How do we know that the intrinsic brightness of Cepheid variables corresponds to their period?

As I understand it, beyond parallax the next way of estimating the distance to astronomical objects is by using a relationship between the period and intrinsic luminosity of Cepheid variables. How do ...
4
votes
1answer
88 views

Lunar Soil : what are those “bumps” and how they were formed ?

I was watching a video of the chinese lunar landing and saw the numerous bumps on the soil. What are they ? Is there any theory to explain how they came into existence ?
3
votes
4answers
311 views

If the hammer and feather move at the same speed why do comet and the tail particles move at different speeds?

From this exhibition by an astronaut on the moon dropping a hammer and a feather and showing they move at the same speed, why do the particles of the comets tail move away from the comet, slow down ...
2
votes
1answer
20 views

In India, what is the best time to view the geminid meteor shower in 2013

As of the time of writing this question, the meteors should have appeared, but so far I haven't seen any. What time would be the best to view them?
8
votes
1answer
88 views

How do we calculate the escape velocity of galaxies?

How do we calculate the escape velocity of galaxies? Do we have to know the total mass? What is the escape velocity for Milky Way?
4
votes
2answers
105 views

What are some night sky objects I could see with my Celestron UpClose 20x50 Porro Binocular?

I bought this binocular because I've read countless times that one should start with a pair of binoculars before diving into telescopes. I've seen details of the moon and I can notice Venus round ...
4
votes
1answer
68 views

What's the smallest scale at which dark matter has been measured?

What is the smallest scale at which we have detected "dark matter" (more kinetic energy than would be predicted)? If you don't mind indulging a follow-up: Would its detection on smaller scales be ...
3
votes
2answers
79 views

Is there an orbit that could cause regular debris showers like in the movie Gravity?

[some spoilers] If you were in the ISS and orbiting the Earth roughly every 90 minutes, would it be possible for debris to be orbiting such that it passes you every 90 minutes? While Neil DeGrass ...
5
votes
1answer
122 views

Why are galaxies disk shaped?

I always see galaxies in "disk" shape in pictures. It is like, there is a rotational movement on a plane and the system is balanced by the pulling-in gravitational force which prevents the stars to ...
5
votes
1answer
61 views

Was comet ISON in a Kepler orbit prior to disintegrating?

Was comet ISON in a Kepler orbit prior to disintegrating? If so, it is possible over time that Kepler orbits can be altered by increases or decreases in the mass of of celestial bodies? For instance ...
3
votes
2answers
746 views

How to calculate Longitude from Right Ascension?

Considering that a star of certain declination is crossing the local meridian at the observer's zenith at an unknown location on the earth. Here, the declination of the star is equal to the observer's ...
2
votes
1answer
58 views

Calculate apsides without knowing eccentricity

How would one go about determining the apsides of an orbit, knowing only the current distance between the 2 bodies, the orbital velocity, and the period? Every formula I've seen requires eccentricity, ...

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