12
votes
2answers
224 views

Does the Moon have any oxygen in its atmosphere?

Since the moon has gravity, it's almost impossible that there aren't some gasses trapped on the surface by the moon's gravity. Has any free-floating oxygen been found on the Moon? If so, in what ...
12
votes
2answers
201 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
263 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
99 views

Why is the Sun's atmosphere (the corona) so hot?

The visible surface of the Sun is 6000 degrees Celsius but the gas in the solar corona is at least 1 million degrees. What heats the solar corona?
11
votes
1answer
115 views

What is the current accepted theory as to why Venus has a slow retrograde rotation?

According to this NASA overview, the planet Venus is unique (amongst the major planets), Venus has a slow retrograde axial rotation, taking 243 Earth days to make one rotation (which is longer than ...
10
votes
1answer
101 views

Were effects of a planetary magnetic field reversal observed on other planets than Earth?

From geological records in rocks and minerals we know that the magnetic field of Earth changed its polarity multiple times in the history. See Geomagnetic reversal. Was a similar process of a ...
10
votes
1answer
150 views

Why did the Comet Shoemaker-Levy-9 fragments cause such large explosions on Jupiter?

In July 1994, the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 (D/1993 F2) tidally fragmented and these fragments collided into Jupiter, as per the image below. Image source The question is, what mechanisms resulted in ...
10
votes
3answers
100 views

What is there in the intergalactic space?

What bodies can be encountered way outside galaxies - far beyond the farthest edges of galaxies, in the deep space between them? Are there single, galaxy-less stars, giant clouds of gas more dense ...
10
votes
1answer
127 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 ...
9
votes
7answers
464 views

What's the largest non-spherical astronomical object in the universe?

Some asteroids and comets are non-spherical. But is the nature of big things and gravity so that large things in the universe are always spherical? What is the biggest astronomical object in terms of ...
9
votes
1answer
174 views

Why does the Moon stablize Earth's axis?

In an academic study titled 'The Moon and the Origin of Life on Earth' it is said that 'If the Moon did not exist, the orientation of the Earth’s axis would not be stable, and would be subject ...
9
votes
1answer
83 views

What are the current observational constraints on the existence of Nemesis?

Nemesis is a hypothetical companion to the Sun on a very eccentric, long-period orbit. The star supposedly returns every few tens of millions years, driving comets into the inner solar system and ...
9
votes
1answer
96 views

Why does the Moon seem larger when it is close to the horizon? [duplicate]

I've noticed that when I look into the sky at night, sometimes the moon appears very large near the horizon. Sometimes it also looks like it has a yellow tint. Is this the light rays bouncing off ...
9
votes
2answers
246 views

Do other planets in our solar system experience eclipses or is this unique to Earth?

Here on Earth we get to experience lunar and solar eclipses. Is this pure coincidence that everything happens to line up? Do other planets in the solar system experience this phenomenon or is this ...
9
votes
1answer
692 views

Is the moon moving further away from Earth and closer to the Sun? Why?

According to The NASA Moon Facts page: The moon is actually moving away from earth at a rate of 1.5 inches per year. Why is the moon moving further away from the Earth? Is this a result of the ...
9
votes
1answer
104 views

On what scale does the universe expand?

According to the theory (or my understanding of it), the universe is not only expanding, but speeding up. If the galaxies are moving apart, are the solar systems within them also moving apart from ...
8
votes
2answers
99 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
1answer
78 views

What implications do younger Earth and Moon have on Late Heavy Bombardment genesis hypotheses?

The Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB) or the Lunar Cataclysm is when the inner solar system, including the Earth and the Moon, underwent multiple and sustained heavy impacts early in their history (around ...
8
votes
1answer
79 views

What is the predominant element in the dust of the Sombrero Galaxy?

The Sombrero Galaxy contains a rather peculiar ring of dust orbiting it (seen as the dark ring on the outer edge). What is the prevalent element in this dust? Carbon?
8
votes
1answer
116 views

Parking a telescope at a Lagrange point: is this a good idea from a debris point of view?

The James Webb space telescope is supposed to be located at the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange point. Do we expect the region around that point to have a higher concentration of space debris, asteroids, ...
8
votes
2answers
101 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?
7
votes
2answers
154 views

Why are most lunar maria on the visible side?

Is there any reason why the Earth side of the Moon has enormous plains and mountains, while the far side contains just few small ones inside largest craters?
7
votes
1answer
80 views

Effect of Charon on Pluto

Even though Pluto is not known as a planet anymore, theroetically it has/had a moon, called Charon. I've heard about something that their size are so close to each other that while Charon rotates ...
7
votes
1answer
69 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
74 views
+50

Would bagging an asteroid destroy valuable science about it?

NASA has a plan called "Asteroid Redirect Mission option A". It would robotically put an asteroid of a few meters diameter in a bag and push it into reach of astronauts for thorough examination. 44 ...
6
votes
2answers
921 views

Can two comets travel together as one?

If two comets come together in space, will they bounce apart, merge into a single body, or could they travel together through space, either touching or orbiting a shared center of gravity?
6
votes
2answers
165 views

Does matter accumulate just outside the event horizon of a black hole?

My understanding is that time slows and approaches stopping when approaching the event horizon of a black hole. I have seen this explained several places, including a brief explanation in the last ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

If Earth didn't rotate, would we feel heavier? [closed]

Suppose the Earth's rotation slowed for some reason. Would the lack of centrifugal force cause us to feel heavier than normal? Likewise, if Earth's rotation increased, would we feel lighter as ...
6
votes
1answer
150 views

Why does Pluto's Orbit underlap Neptune's Orbit

Why does Pluto's Orbit underlap inside of Neptunes Orbit. Clearly Neptunes Orbit is not overlapping on Pluto's. Yet, they fail to maintain the symmetric banding appearance all the other Planets ...
6
votes
1answer
34 views

Long term development of Comets

When an exocomet passes by our Sun in a trajectory that leads it to establish a Solar Orbit what eventually happens to it? In addition to its original inertia and vector being altered what are the ...
6
votes
1answer
72 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
1answer
170 views

Why does the moon sometimes appear giant and a orange red color near the horizon?

I've read various ideas about why the moon looks larger on the horizon. The most reasonable one in my opinion is that it is due to how our brain calculates (perceives) distance, with objects high ...
5
votes
1answer
83 views

SPH simulations

Are there any simulations that can be obtained that use smooth particle hydrodynamics and can be configured to include different initial conditions? I wish to simulate planetary collisions and their ...
5
votes
2answers
64 views

Neutrino interaction with dense molecular structures

Would dense molecular structures on heavier planets (crystalline or other compounds which are generally unknown to us) allow neutrinos to pass through as easily as on Earth?
5
votes
1answer
626 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
1k 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, ...
5
votes
1answer
200 views

Is the Milky Way Visible from Nebraska?

Is the Milky Way Visible from Nebraska? If so, where is the best place to view it, and also what would be the best time of night to see it? I know this is probably a very novice question, just ...
5
votes
1answer
39 views

How far apart is the dust in the Sombrero Galaxy's dust lane?

In his answer to this question, TildalWave made this remark: I think that first, we have to properly appreciate the size of the Sombrero Galaxy. It is roughly 50,000 light years (15 kilo parsecs) ...
5
votes
3answers
74 views

What qualifies as a good place for stargazing, i.e. with least light pollution?

I know that minimal light pollution is a must for stargazing, and a place which is away from civilization is better. Does altitude of a place matter for light pollution? Does it affect the quality ...
4
votes
1answer
135 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
183 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
110 views

How does light affect the universe?

When light is emitted by for example a star, that star loses energy - which causes it to reduce its gravity. Then that energy begins a journey for potentially billions of years, until it reaches some ...
3
votes
2answers
93 views

Why does time get slow near a black hole? [closed]

Why exactly does time get slow around a black hole? And does it provide a way to go into the future?
3
votes
1answer
77 views

Do planetary surface temperatures change in unison in a solar system?

Are there any known correlations between the changes in planetary surface temperatures in a solar system? If so, do the farthest planets have smaller albeit correlated changes?
3
votes
2answers
82 views

Expansion again: where does the energy come from?

Is it sensible to ask for the overall increase in potential energy when looking at the baryonic mass in the universe moving away from each other, that is, moving against the direction of the force ...
3
votes
2answers
243 views

What is the physical, geometric shape of the universe?

I'm not asking about theoretical ball, vs saddle, vs flat surface which is just a metaphor with 2D space. It's hard to say as we see very little of it, and we see them in the past because light ...
3
votes
2answers
532 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
2answers
83 views

Conundrum involving distance to object, universal expansion, age of universe, etc

I was recently reading about a galaxy or quasar (not sure which, so lets just say quasar) where the estimated distance to this thing was some very significant fraction of the age of the universe. ...
2
votes
4answers
183 views

Is it possible to extend the life of a star?

Is it true that when a star 'runs out' of its fuel, it hasn't really used up all its hydrogen, it still has hydrogen left, but the hydrogen is not at its center where the fusion happens. If something ...
2
votes
2answers
158 views

the most accurate system that can show the positions of planets at my birthday [closed]

My birthday : 4 December 1982 If you have such astronomical calculator on your computer please send me the result ! Alternatively if you know an online astronomical service for my purpose please ...

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