1
vote
5answers
512 views

Does the Sun turn around a big star?

The moon turns around the Earth. The Earth turns around the Sun. Does the Sun turn around a big star? If so, does this big star turn around a very big star? ... etc ... What are all the intermediate ...
15
votes
1answer
510 views

What is the accepted theory as to why Uranus' axis is tilted so severely?

The planet Uranus is another solar system anomaly, where according to the NASA profile has an axial tilt of 97.8 degrees, also considered to be retrograde. This NASA summary "Uranus" suggests the ...
10
votes
3answers
731 views

Is it a coincidence that both the sun and moon look of same size from earth?

The sun is huge when compared to moon. Despite the huge difference in their size and distance from earth, Is it purely coincidental that they both look almost the same from earth?
9
votes
1answer
136 views

What are the current observational limits on the existence of Dyson spheres/swarms/rings?

A Dyson sphere/swarm/ring is a hypothetical structure an extra-terrestrial entity would construct to collect a large fraction of its host star's light, and would likely generate a fairly strong ...
6
votes
2answers
808 views

How does a telescope measure parallax angle?

I know how stars' distances are measured by using parallax, but I want to know how the actual telescope measures the parallax angle. Any helpful links/ explanations are needed.
5
votes
1answer
75 views

How does an accreting black hole acquire magnetic fields?

There is actually a similar question on this site: Can magnetism escape a black hole?, however the answers do not focus on accretion, which is my main concern, so I start a new one. In Kip Thorne's ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Does the universe have an edge?

I've heard the universe is just an empty cavity. Does the universe have any edge or stop or is it just an infinite empty cavity?
3
votes
2answers
99 views

Why (actually) aren't ground-based observatories using adaptive optics for visible wavelengths?

Adaptive Optics (AO) techniques allow ground based observatories to dramatically improve resolution by actively compensating for the effects of Astronomical Seeing. The atmospheric effects are quite ...
2
votes
2answers
68 views

Expansion of Space

If Space is expanding between the Galaxies then why isn't it also expanding between the Stars within the Galaxies as well ? In fact why isn't Space expanding within our Solar System ?
1
vote
3answers
449 views

Where exactly does the Moon flip, given that it appears the other way up in the other hemisphere?

I've read in multiple sources that the Moon appears the other way up in Northern Hemisphere vs Southern Hemisphere. Here is one that explains why: Does the Moon look different in the northern and ...
1
vote
2answers
167 views

Outside of a Universe and its origin

Per the Big Bang Theory, the universe was formed from a dense singular point which existed 13 billion years ago and has been expanding ever since. This suggests that the point should have existed ...
0
votes
3answers
319 views

What will happen if a black hole appears near our solar system?

We know that black hole possesses immense power and can destroy anything coming in front of it's path. If such a black hole appears near our solar system, are we going to survive? Is there any way not ...
41
votes
4answers
6k views

How does the Earth move in the sky as seen from the Moon?

I just want to be sure I am visualizing this correctly, because it seems odd. The Moon is tidally locked to the Earth but there are wobbles to its motion due to libration. So from a point on the ...
35
votes
3answers
9k views

How many planets are there in this solar system?

So, in school (that's a long time age) they have been teaching us there are 9 planets in our solar system. Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto But every now and then I ...
22
votes
4answers
11k views

What's the fastest moving object in the universe?

We know that nothing can have proper velocities larger than the speed of light in vacuum. But are there any objects in space that get close to it? Any comets, or other objects thrown by gravity or ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

Why can't light escape from a black hole?

I've heard that light can't escape from a black hole. Can it? If not, why?
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Age of the universe and time dilation

Given our knowledge and the standard cosmological model, we estimate that the age of the universe is about 13.7 billion years old. How much sense does it make to talk about the age of the universe ...
31
votes
5answers
5k views

Why hasn't the “9th Planet” been detected already?

In the comments to this question, there was considerable doubt placed as to the subject of if the so called "9th planet" really exists. That wasn't really the intent of the previous question, so I ask ...
6
votes
2answers
385 views

Selecting a Telescope for Viewing Planets

I hope to observe planets like Jupiter and Saturn, and moons. I am a novice when it comes to telescopes and I know images in magazines are not taken with at least 12-inch telescope in a middle of ...
11
votes
2answers
231 views

How has the Earth's orbit changed over hundreds of millions or billion of years?

First, I know that modeling orbital mechanics of 8 planets is hard, but there are some theories out there, for example, Jupiter is thought to have moved in towards the sun then started moving away. ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How deep and shaped is the depth of a black hole?

A common representation of a black hole is a black circle which if I'm correct, indicates its breadth. This representation depicts it as a 'plate', so a really small depth compared to its breadth. ...
7
votes
1answer
8k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
247 views

Which type of telescope should I make?

I am not very much interested in observational physics but I just like to look at the night sky. It gives me a lot of inspiration. So, i was thinking about making a telescope for basic observations. I ...
20
votes
2answers
411 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
295 views

Near-Earth supernova

There are 51 stars within 17 light years of the Earth (source). If one of these stars was to become a supernova, how would they effect the Earth?
16
votes
2answers
611 views

If Alpha Centauri A's solar system exactly mirrored our own, what would we be able to detect?

Suppose there was an exact replica of our solar system 4.4 ly away (people included). What would we be able to detect and with what telescope(s)? Which planets? Could we detect radio transmissions and/...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

Could someone explain RA/dec in simple terms?

The equatorial coordinate system isn't too complicated. However, for people new to this, it seems rather intimidating at first. Is there an easy way to explain it?
13
votes
3answers
1k views

What wavelength to best detect the “9th planet”?

We know that the reflected sunlight will make detecting the 9th planet very difficult in the visible light. Is there another band that will be more likely to detect it? What is the surface temperature ...
12
votes
2answers
649 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
7k views

How would Earth's climate differ if it's axis were tilted around 90 degrees like Uranus? [closed]

As the title states, what would the effect on Earth's climate be if it's axis were tilted approximately 90 degrees like Uranus? I'm specifically wondering about the effects on seasons, temperature, ...
6
votes
1answer
360 views

Given a date obtain latitude and longitude where is the sun zenith

Searching is easy to find terminator line (frontier between day and night) or the position of the sun in the sky given a position on the earth and a time; but I can't find how to obtain where is the ...
5
votes
1answer
55 views

Where can I find/visualize planets/stars/moons/etc positions?

What resources are available to find the positions of planets, stars, moons, artifical satellites, asteroids, and other heavenly bodies?
4
votes
4answers
782 views

Why did the big bang not just produce a big black hole?

Questions I've often wondered about: 1) If all the matter and energy were concentrated at a single point at the big bang, why wasn't that a black hole, or why didn't it form one? 2) If the reason #1 ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Where can I find a catalog of all stars in the Milky Way?

Is there a catalog of all known stars or brightest stars in our galaxy? Preferably with some sort of galactic coordinates instead of just night sky coordinates (right ascension, etc.) I'm trying to ...
3
votes
2answers
235 views

Help in determining the features of an unusual, fictional star system

(Hope this is the right Stack-exchange site for this question) I'm working on a sci-fi RPG campaign, set on a very atypical location. Since this is a work of fiction, there's enough room for ...
19
votes
1answer
788 views

Could any known, living organisms on Earth survive on Mars?

No life has been discovered outside of Earth (yet?), but do we know if anything that would be considered "living" on Earth could conquer Mars? (or maybe Venus?) With the Mars One project on the way, ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Why can't we observe the Oort cloud with a telescope?

The Oort cloud is a hypothetical structure based on our observation of long-period comets. There are currently proposals to design probes to confirm the existence of the Oort cloud. Now, sending a ...
11
votes
1answer
254 views

How did scientists determine an estimate of the number of planets greater than Sedna's size to exist in the Inner Oort Cloud?

In the article, New Dwarf Planet Found at Solar System's Edge, Hints at Possible Faraway 'Planet X' (Wall, 2014) where they report on research and observations performed by astronomers that discovered ...
11
votes
2answers
126 views

Why do we believe that the super massive black holes at the centers of two merging galaxies would themselves merge?

When listening to podcasts or watching youtube videos of astronomers discussing galaxy mergers, I often hear talk about how the super massive black holes at their centers will themselves merge during ...
10
votes
4answers
590 views

Why is liquid water considered a requirement for life?

I`ve heard about different extremofiles living on earth. Is water a requirement for life because we have not seen life survive on earth without it, is it a chemical reason which makes life without ...
10
votes
3answers
440 views

What is the difference between asteroids, comets and meteors?

Some celestial objects seem to be referred to as asteroids, some as comets, and some as meteors or meteorites. What is the distinction between all of these different objects? Are any of them the same?...
10
votes
5answers
285 views

Orbiting around a black hole

Is it possible (for either a satellite or a planet) to orbit around a black hole? Do they attract everything around themselves into the center? Or they just affect gravitational force just like stars?
8
votes
2answers
820 views

Why do the Pleiades look clearer when viewed indirectly?

I've noticed that the Pleiades look bright in the sky, but when I look directly at the constellation, it suddenly goes dim and it's more difficult to make out the individual stars. Why does this ...
8
votes
2answers
188 views

Can moon set after being up when due north? (pseudo circumpolarity)

I'm in the northern hemisphere, facing north, and notice that the moon is due north (azimuth 0) and is still above the horizon, albeit barely. Does this mean the moon is necessarily circumpolar (...
8
votes
2answers
160 views

What's the distinction between “planetary formation mechanisms” and “gravitational collapse”?

As I was curious about the exact identical comment to my title here: http://astronomy.stackexchange.com/a/16135/10102 And as it seems no one asked it yet, I'm simply interested in the difference of ...
5
votes
3answers
205 views

Is there a ceiling for stable L4 or L5 masses?

L4 and L5, the Lagrange points 60 degrees leading and trailing an orbiting body, are famous for being stable. A well known example are the Trojan aseroids at the Sun Jupiter L4 and L5. Nodding to ...
3
votes
2answers
798 views

What is the name of that which exists beyond the Universe?

"The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of existence" but that is more of a philosophical position. Empirically we know (or believe) that it is of finite size some believe it is expanding ...
3
votes
1answer
205 views

Could a habitable satellite of a gas giant have a stable subsatellite?

I have set a science fiction story on a moon, orbiting a gas giant (which orbits its star at approximately the same orbit as the Earth around the Sun), and given this moon its own satellites. The ...
3
votes
2answers
375 views

What should I look for in an astronomy tripod?

I have a Celstron SkyMaster 20x80 binoculars, and a tripod — Vanguard 263AT with a SBH-100 head. The binoculars weighs 2.2kg, while the head is rated to a loading capacity of 10kg, and the legs to a ...
2
votes
3answers
103 views

Radio telescope targeting

How do you target a radio telescope on the precise object you wish to observe? You can point it in the general direction but how do you get the information from the exact point in the sky that you are ...

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