All Questions

5
votes
4answers
198 views

How do you define the diameter of the Sun

That is, it's twice the radius where the radius is from the centre of the sun to some edge. But what is that edge?
11
votes
2answers
284 views

At what distance from Earth would our Sun be the same apparent magnitude as the next brightest star in the sky?

When I stand outside looking at the night sky, to my untrained eye, everything except the moon looks like a star. I know intellectually that some are planets circling our sun, and some are entire ...
4
votes
3answers
116 views

Find distance from star to star?

How do you find the distance from a star/planet/black hole to another? I know people can calculate the distance from Earth to a star, but what about from one to another?
2
votes
2answers
127 views

Has life been discovered outside of Earth?

I've just watched a movie that made me curious as to whether life has really been discovered on another world such as Europa??
8
votes
1answer
57 views

How was Io not torn apart by tidal forces during its formation?

Jupiter's moon Io is arguably one of the most volcanically active bodies in the Solar System. The reason, according to NASA's page Scientists to Io: Your Volcanoes Are in the Wrong Place is believed ...
6
votes
1answer
81 views

How do you figure out the magnitude of stars?

How do you figure out the star magnitude of a star? Do they just give it a guess or what? If not, how do they figure it out accurately?
4
votes
2answers
91 views

Could Venus be a source of Earth's water?

I've watched documentaries about the solar system, where it is suggested that Venus once had oceans of liquid water similar to those that cover most of Earth today. Venus is now in a period of ...
4
votes
1answer
33 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?
2
votes
1answer
48 views

Without using absolute magnitudes or isochrones, how might we tell a star's age and evolutionary status?

Usual methods of estimating stellar ages involve isochrone approximations. It can also help to estimate a star's radius by correlating its absolute magnitude with effective temperature and apparent ...
6
votes
3answers
204 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
109 views

USNO moon images look quite different?

I visited: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/imagery/moon http://www.usno.navy.mil/USNO/time/moon-phase-images within seconds of each other, and saw two very different "current moon images": Is one of ...
4
votes
1answer
294 views

What is the maximum transmission distance of the radio signal in the outer space which could still be understood?

I’ll put this question in a form of a physics problem: Transmitter at a point A sends a signal to a receiver at a point B. What is the longest distance in light years from points A to B for which ...
6
votes
2answers
206 views

Does the radio signal decay when it travels through the intergalactic space?

When you emit the radio signal it starts moving at the speed of light. Radio beam is diffusing with each kilometer the signal has traveled. To the nearby receiver the signal is strong. But if the ...
9
votes
2answers
174 views

How are Galaxy Super Clusters Generated

I have seen pictures of clusters of galaxies, usually used in regards to theories of dark matter and galaxy formations. One of the most famous ones has the perceived shape of a stick-figure. If I am ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Calculation of right ascension and declination

I am confused about this problem: If I see an object from Mount Teide (longitude is 16"30'E and latitude is 28"18'N) that passes the meridian (azimuth=0) at 5h (am) UTC, and I also know that the ...
6
votes
1answer
110 views

Apparent size of M31

I am trying to understand something I read on wikipedia about M31. Wikipedia says that M31 appears more than six times as wide as the full Moon. But I remember that when I watched it naked eye it ...
10
votes
1answer
141 views

Why haven't asteroid belts turned into new large bodies?

If gravitation (attraction of mass) is the cause of the formation of all celestial bodies then how come the numerous small bodies found in asteroid belts spread over an orbit instead of clustering ...
5
votes
1answer
64 views

Climate modeling of exoplanets

These notes from an exoplanet talk discuss modeling the climate of exoplanets. How would we do that with our current technology? Would data be primarily gathered by spectrum analysis?
5
votes
1answer
916 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
488 views

How does one determine the effective temperature of a star from its spectrum?

Determining effective temperature of a star is in general a non-trivial task. Simple reason for this is that we can only study the electromagnetic radiation from a star, but not the temperature ...
2
votes
1answer
423 views

Is C/2012 S1 (aka ISON) the fastest comet on record to-date?

This source may be nebulous (no pun intended!) for some. It writes to say Starting at around 95,000mph at the start of this month, Comet ISON will eventually reach an astonishing 845,000mph on ...
4
votes
4answers
432 views

Escaping a black hole

I often hear that nothing can escape a black hole because it's "escape velocity" is greater than c. If that is accurate, what about the following. I know that the following has a lot of most likely ...
6
votes
2answers
79 views

Can protoplanetary disks form main-sequence stars?

As has been pointed out by @Envite in the context of a more general discussion (see Generalised planets?), there seems to be a moderate possibility for protoplanetary discs forming main-sequence stars ...
8
votes
1answer
158 views

What is the object in this photo?

What object is in this photo? View coordinates: $47.25103 \ \ 38.81697$ Time: $2013$-$11$-$23 ~21$:$00 +4 ~UTC$ Sony $A580, \ 50mm f/1.4 15"$
8
votes
2answers
172 views

Why is the observable Universe larger than its age would suggest?

The age of the Universe is estimated at 13.8 billion years, and current theory states nothing can exceed the speed of light, which can lead to the incorrect conclusion that the universe can't have a ...
5
votes
2answers
80 views

On analogies between gas and stellar systems

Analogies between (typically) ideal gas and stellar systems are not only intuitively valid to some extent, but have been established and used in the studies of stellar clusters and galactic systems, ...
4
votes
1answer
96 views

How well can we in principle determine $T_{\textrm{eff}}$ of a star?

This is a question about the basics of astronomy, which I have never happened to see a good discussion for. It is about how well would we be able to measure effective temperature of a star, if we had ...
3
votes
4answers
124 views

Generalised planets?

There is somewhat of an abstract way of generalising the notion of planets. Standard definition of planets is, obviously: "planets are the objects formed from the residual material surrounding a ...
4
votes
1answer
148 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
112 views

What do we know about the lifecycle of the Milky Way (or any other spiral galaxy)?

I know that the Milky Way will collide with Andromeda in the distant future but based on what we know so far there is a supermassive black hole in the center of each galaxy and thus the Milky Way will ...
12
votes
4answers
440 views

Doesn't gravity attract objects in space until they collide?

If the formula to calculate the force of gravity of two objects is: $$F1 = F2 = G * (M1 * M2/r^2)$$ Why do planets stay in orbit? Or is there another formula at work?
7
votes
1answer
96 views

How can only 1 magnetic pole of the Sun change at a time?

I read some news stories about the current Solar maximum and the flipping of the magnetic poles. They say that one of the magnetic poles has switched polarity and the other will switch in about a ...
10
votes
4answers
229 views

How would I measure that I'm at a pole?

How would a person measure that he is at a planetary pole? My first inclination is to use a sextant to ensure that the Sun remains at a constant inclination. However, due to the orbit around the Sun ...
10
votes
1answer
126 views

Will Neptune be visible with the naked eye if I am standing on its satellite

Assume that I am standing on one of the many satellites of Neptune. Will I be able to see the planet with my naked eyes (without any sort of visual aid). If I was to stand on Moon I would be able to ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the distance that the Moon travels during one orbit around the Earth?

What is the distance that the Moon covers in one orbit around the Earth, and does it always take the same amount of time, or does it fractionally differ on each revolution?
7
votes
3answers
145 views

Why is the interstellar medium so hot?

On this link, it states the following: "large assemblies of galaxies that are permeated by even larger amounts of diffuse gas. With temperatures of 10 million degrees or more". How are these ...
5
votes
1answer
94 views

Is lunar elevation at a given location for a given day unimodal?

Is lunar elevation at a given location for a given day unimodal: Unimodal function In other words, once the moon's elevation reaches a minimum (which may be above or below the horizon depending on ...
4
votes
1answer
175 views

Can I see comet ISON from Saudi Arabia?

I live in western Saudi Arabia, I am trying to see the comet ISON, reading here and there tells that I can see it by naked eye somewhere next to the constellation leo, I used an app to tells me where ...
3
votes
1answer
148 views

How does a Bahtinov mask work?

For focusing the image of a telescope, one can use a Bahtinov mask. How does this mask work, and how did Mr Bahtinov get the idea to cut such a peculiar shape? Is it possible for me to design my own ...
6
votes
1answer
89 views

How can the equation of state for cosmic strings and domain walls be derived?

In this article which nicely explains why it is really the quantity $\rho + 3p$ which is relevant to determine if the expansion of the universe is accelerating or decelerating by making use of the for ...
4
votes
1answer
51 views

Open data for satellites positions

Is there a site / service where I can get the data for the positions of satellites (I mean artificial satellite, ISS, etc.)? I know that some sites provide a visualization of these positions, but I'm ...
6
votes
3answers
552 views

How do scientists determine the age of stars?

I was Googling about the oldest galaxies in the Universe. Everywhere is written that their age is known by the light. Referring to this line "Since light travels at a set speed, if you look at a star ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

Solar maximum and minimum

What are solar maximum and solar minimum? Is there a relation between sun spots and solar maximum and minimum? Thank you!
7
votes
2answers
113 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
150 views

What effect does the Earth's rotation have on plate tectonics? [closed]

I've been reading up on plate tectonics and found that there are several different driving forces involved. One of the main categories of driving force mentioned on Wikipedia is forces related to the ...
4
votes
1answer
78 views

How can we be sure that we have identified very distant stars correctly?

From reading this question on calculating distance to stars and from a bit of background reading on the standard candle theory I still don't see how we can confirm that a star we see at one distance ...
7
votes
1answer
77 views

Appearance (popularity) ranking of stars?

Is there some ranking / statistics that shows how common given type of celestial objects is? A table that would allow the answers to questions like: What type of star is most common per volume of our ...
9
votes
7answers
654 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
2answers
118 views

Might Oort cloud comets be exchanged between solar systems?

Considering their distance from their parent stars, might Oort cloud object such as comets be exchanged between passing stars (assuming that other stars have similar Oort clouds)?
9
votes
2answers
161 views

Calculate Distance To Stars

I was just watching a lecture from Carl Sagan. He talked about figuring out the distance to the stars; it got me interested in learning more about the subject. As far as I know, the Inverse square ...

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