6
votes
3answers
205 views

Aren't there more naked-eye-visible stars in the Milky Way plane?

Most stars which are visible to the naked eye are within 1,000 light years. The Sun is inside the Orion arm which has a diameter of about 3,500 light years. Thus, all stars (with very few exceptions) ...
6
votes
4answers
253 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
166 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
453 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
101 views

Why isn't the dark energy getting decreased?

AS the articles on the web suggest, Dark energy is the reason behind the expansion of universe. If so, why isn't it getting used up in doing so. And consequently, the rate of expansion should reduce! ...
0
votes
2answers
251 views

When we see the Sun, do we actually see its past?

The Sun's rays hit our eyes around 8 minutes after they are emitted from the Sun. Does this mean that the Sun that we see is always the Sun as it was some 8 minutes before? I strongly think this must ...
-2
votes
3answers
178 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
182 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
139 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
573 views

How can the 13.8 billion years old universe have a radius of 46 billion light years?

The universe is about 13.8 billion years old. Assume at the big-bang it starts from a small region and the maximum possible speed according Einstein is the speed of light how can the universe got a ...
8
votes
2answers
246 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
586 views

Why is the solar system often shown as a 2D plane?

Whenever I have learned about the solar system I always see the orbits displayed as a virtually flat plane. Are all of the orbits in the solar system really like this? If so, why? It seems like a ...
3
votes
1answer
57 views

How did the Hulse-Taylor Pulsar Provide Confirming Evidence of General Relativity?

What measurements and observations of the Hulse-Taylor Pulsar agreed precisely with the predictions of general relativity, and how did these measurements support the theory?
3
votes
1answer
452 views

How likely and severe is the threat of a gamma ray burst to earth?

In the National Geographic article: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/090403-gamma-ray-extinction_2.html it is suggested that a gamma ray burst likely caused a mass extinction in earth's ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

Distance of extra-galactic Classical Cepheids

There have been many questions and answers about finding the distance of a star from the earth. But as I did some research on the net, I found that we have specific approaches for finding the ...
1
vote
3answers
138 views

How fast is the universe expanding?

I've hear several theories stating that the universe is expanding faster than the speed of light, others claim that the universe expands faster the further away you measure it. Which of this is ...
1
vote
2answers
188 views

What happened before the big bang? [duplicate]

Was there space before big bang? Or who knows there might be different heavenly bodies that we might not perceive?
1
vote
1answer
43 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 ...
36
votes
4answers
6k views

Is the moon only 60 pixels?

In doing research on vision, I have learned that "20/20" vision corresponds to a visual acuity of being able to resolve details 1 arcminute in size, that most people have around 20/15 vision, and that ...
49
votes
3answers
2k views

Does the Sun rotate?

The planets rotate as an after effect of their creation, the dust clouds that compressed span as they did so and the inertia has kept it rotating ever since. It's fairly easy to prove that planetary ...
30
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
190 views

How does Titan maintain the atmosphere

Titan which is smaller than mars has an atmosphere but mars is not able to maintain atmosphere. Even Luna doesn't have an atmosphere.
19
votes
5answers
852 views

Can we (theoretically) spin the black hole so strong that it will be broken apart by centrifugal force?

I can't imagine the forces involved in black holes' lives. So please, help me to find out, if it is possible or not to destroy black hole in this specific way.
18
votes
3answers
728 views

Can small gas planets exist?

Most of the known gas planets (Jupiter, Saturn, etc.) are huge. They are even called "gas giants". is it possible to exist a gas planet around the size of Earth? If yes, why; if no, why?
15
votes
8answers
4k views

Why can't we see distant galaxies with the naked eye?

If light keeps travelling in a straight line, why can't we see distant galaxies with the naked eye? Surely if you stared long enough, the light from them would eventually hit your eye? I apologize if ...
14
votes
2answers
335 views

Do moons have moons?

Have we discovered any natural satellites of natural satellites of planets or dwarf planets? Even very small, or relatively short-lived - e.g. ringlets around Saturn's moons, some meteorites orbiting ...
8
votes
4answers
263 views

How would we detect an Earth doppelganger planet?

With our current technology, or technology available in the near future (up to 2025), how would we detect a planet exactly like our own, and how close would it have to be to be detectable? Which ...
7
votes
2answers
288 views

Open problems in astronomy that an amateur (with a PhD in some other field) would have a chance of solving?

What are some open problems in astronomy that an amateur would have a chance of solving? Suppose the amateur has a PhD in some other field, owns a basic telescope, a set of filters, diffraction ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is our solar system “tipped” about 63° with respect to the plane of our galaxy?

Our own solar system is "tipped" by about 63 degrees with respect to the plane of the galaxy. Has it ever been researched or is there any scientific theory which could explain the reason why our solar ...
18
votes
2answers
408 views

What is a parsec and how is it measured?

Astronomical units of measurement are mostly pretty straight-forward: Astronomical Units refer to the mean Earth-Sun distance (~150 million km or 93 million miles) Light years are the distance light ...
11
votes
1answer
229 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
141 views

Detecting Deep Impact

There have been several accounts in media articles of asteroid near misses, many describe that the asteroid was not seen before the near miss. After reading the question and answer to How can we tell ...
20
votes
1answer
300 views

How could a hobbyist astronomer determine apparent magnitude of a star?

Apparent magnitude is a rather complex way to determine the brightness of a star. Quoting the introduction text from the linked to Wikipedia page: The apparent magnitude (m) of a celestial body is ...
17
votes
1answer
275 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

Is Jupiter made entirely out of gas?

I heard that Jupiter is made out of gas. But in school I learned that Jupiter has gravity which is 2.5 times that of Earth (Gravity that can tear apart a comet) and gravity is proportional to mass. ...
12
votes
1answer
147 views

Dark Matter Particle Candidates

Dark matter appears to dominate the matter component of the universe as compared to luminous, or baryonic, matter. Though it does not interact electromagnetically (it doesn't absorb, scatter, or emit ...
9
votes
1answer
272 views

Why does a planet rotate and revolve?

Why do planets rotate and revolve in the universe?
8
votes
2answers
2k views

How many stars and galaxies can be seen by the naked eye?

How many of the luminous dots that we see naked are galaxies and not stars from our galaxy? I imagine that the majority of the luminous points that we see naked eye during the night, are actually ...
8
votes
1answer
4k 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, ...
7
votes
2answers
197 views

Is there any difference between parallel universes and multiverse?

Nowadays we come across with these two terms - parallel universes and multiverse. I wonder if this is the same thing or its two entirely different principles because the names are a bit confusing to ...
6
votes
3answers
339 views

What is a singularity? What is at the center of a black hole? Specifically regarding space-time

So because I can only really think of space-time in 2-dimensions like a sheet of something, my assumptions might be wrong to begin with. I was watching a YouTube video on black-holes and there was a ...
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
187 views

Does our universe have to be embedded in a higher dimensional space?

I've heard that our universe may be open or closed. If it's closed it might have a toroid shape. If this is the case, would that imply that our 3 spatial dimensions have to be embedded in a higher ...
1
vote
2answers
104 views

How do astronomers estimate the total mass of dust in clouds and galaxies?

As I understand it astronomers estimate the mass of stars by studying the orbits of their companions (other stars or planets). This helps them to derive relationships between the luminosities and ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

Do all stars have an oort cloud or is it a rare occurance?

Do all stars have an oort cloud like ours that will be filled with comets and other objects? If not, why are they not around every star?
15
votes
3answers
330 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
435 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
2answers
306 views

Is there a upper limit to the number of planets orbiting a star?

Our sun has 8 planets orbiting as well as a number of dwarf planets. Are there any calculations that hint as to whether this number is close to some theoretical maximum value or are we simply an ...
13
votes
3answers
161 views

When will we be able to detect Earth-sized exoplanets?

I have heard that the only planets able to be seen outside the Solar system are Jovian-sized planets with the occasional detection of planets three times the Earth's size. But, as far as I know, we ...

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