All Questions

12
votes
3answers
304 views

Does a planet's mass or gravity affect the height of it's mountains?

According to this Wikipedia page, the top five highest mountains on Mars (and the highest on Venus) are all taller than Mount Everest (and Mauna Kea as measured from the ocean floor). Does a planet's ...
5
votes
1answer
65 views

How are the newly discovered Janus/Epimetheus rings different from the other rings of Saturn?

What are the newly discovered ring systems of Saturn, and the circumstances relating to the discovery? Is there something that makes them different from the old well-known rings, like their formation? ...
6
votes
1answer
255 views

How can I calculate moon phase and height?

How could I know what phase the moon is in when it's high in the sky during sunrise? How could I tell in general what its height in the sky will be at any given time?
5
votes
1answer
47 views

Do we live in a galactic bubble?

I have heard a certain statement, which can be summarized succinctly into "we live in a local bubble", implying that solar system is located in an intestrellar dust underdensity region. This region ...
4
votes
1answer
168 views

Colossus telescope, trying to outsmart aliens?

I was listening to Jeff Kuhn's talk on SETI's Colossus telescope project. Background: He explains his theory that a civilization living somewhere the galaxy would want to hide, and thus would ...
6
votes
1answer
67 views

Stars at near break-up rotation rates

Accretion discs are ubiquitous in astrophisics. As a direct corollary, they are important for the following question. Consider the following model, representing one of the most simple models for ...
7
votes
1answer
47 views

How can I measure the mass of eclipsing binary stars?

Is there any method to measure the mass of eclipsing binaries without using Doppler shift effect?
5
votes
1answer
102 views

Planned telescope to detect alien waste-heat

I remember watching a talk by someone who designed a telescope to view a single star at a time. The purpose of the telescope was to detect waste-heat which would presumably be emitted by any ...
7
votes
1answer
299 views

How exactly is the Initial Mass Function (IMF) calculated?

The Initial Mass Function (IMF) is the empirical function which describes the initial masses of a population of stars. My questions are, 1) What are the various IMF's which are used? 2) For each, ...
6
votes
1answer
71 views

Does Ceres have an exosphere similar to the Moon?

Thinking about the question and answers for Does the Moon have any oxygen in its atmosphere? begs the question, despite being considerably smaller than the Moon and further away from the sun, does ...
16
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
136 views

Can the supernova remnant SN 1572 be observed by amateur astronomers?

The SN 1572 remnant, also called Tycho's supernova remnant, is beautiful in X-ray images. It seems to be rather dim in visible light. Are there any amateur photographs of this object? How long are the ...
4
votes
1answer
113 views

What are the next planned space telescopes?

We've had hubble for two decades. Its become the most famous space telescope, and lately Kepler seems to be running for the second place. Are there any more powerful, better telescopes planned for ...
6
votes
1answer
433 views

Most important feature of a telescope

I was taking an astronomy test, the following question came up: The most important function of the astronomical telescope is: Resolving power Light gathering power magnifying power ...
10
votes
5answers
391 views

Do we know the exact spot where big bang took place?

If you rewind the universe back 14,7 billion years, all matter were in one spot, and then started expanding. Do we know where this is in reference to our own solar system? And is there anything there? ...
12
votes
2answers
223 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
142 views

What happens to a star after it has become a red giant?

When our sun reaches the end of its lifetime , it will turn into a red giant. How long will it be a red giant, and what happens after a star has been a red giant? Does it turn into a planet after a ...
6
votes
1answer
52 views

Is it possible to observe if there is traces of life on an exoplanet?

We can observe exoplanets, but is it possible with today's technology to observe if there is life as we know it on an exoplanet? What do you look for when doing this kind of observation?
9
votes
1answer
2k views

How many sun-like stars are there in the universe?

After yesterday's announcement of the Kepler telescope finding a huge amount of newly observed exoplanets, i saw a headline claiming that as much as 22% of sun like stars in the universe have planets ...
6
votes
1answer
63 views

What is the direction of a comet's dust tail before and after perihelion?

I recently created a visualisation of comet ISON's orbit. However, I received a critique that the dust tail of the comet should be pointing away from the Sun after perihelion. As far as I know, the ...
9
votes
3answers
143 views

What is the ultimate fate of a cluster of galaxies?

We're fairly aware clusters of galaxies drift apart due to space expansion, which will drive them out of each other's cosmic event horizon eventually, leaving them separate, alone, each a single ...
9
votes
2answers
218 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
2k 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, ...
11
votes
1answer
185 views

How are the photos of milkyway taken?

We are inside the milky way, right? So, how are we able to take photos of the milky way galaxy?
5
votes
1answer
46 views

What is a 'hybrid' eclipse?

As mentioned on the NASA eclipse website the eclipse on the 3rd of November 2013 will be a "Hybrid" eclipse. I have looked at the diagram on that page but can't see what is different about the ...
6
votes
1answer
343 views

Calculate angle of inclination for a certain angle in a planet's orbit?

The background is that I'm trying to write a computer program to show at what angles each planet would be able to be seen transiting in front of the sun from an observer outside our solar system. My ...
5
votes
1answer
241 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
103 views

Can it be inferred that our cosmological horizon has increased over time?

If I am right, we can see only those stars that lie within our cosmological horizon, and there may or may not be any stars beyond that. Given last 150 years of using telescopes, and since then our ...
7
votes
1answer
71 views

Do planetary rings have geometric bounds?

Are there any bounds on where a planetary ring can form and maintain orbit relative to the planet? Do they have to be in a circular equatorial orbit? Is there a min or max altitude, say with respect ...
8
votes
1answer
148 views

Changes to Earth's orbit

Any time a spacecraft comes in close proximity to a planet and if the spacecraft has the right angle then it is able to use the planet's velocity to move itself further into space. According to ...
3
votes
1answer
48 views

Why is there billowing dust in nebulae?

Why do some nebulae look like the billowing clouds? Wouldn't that require something like a viscosity in empty space?
2
votes
0answers
27 views

How is the distance from Earth to distant celestial bodies calculated? [duplicate]

It's difficult for most people to grasp how distances between the Earth and distant celestial bodies are calculated. For example, when someone tells me that a given star is 100 light years away, how ...
6
votes
1answer
478 views

How far is the Earth/Sun above/below the galactic plane, and is it heading toward/away from it?

How far is the Earth/Sun above/below the galactic plane, and is it heading toward/away from it? We know the Sun is orbiting the galactic center every 225 million years. But how far are we from the ...
5
votes
3answers
113 views

Is there a natural process by which hydrogen is generated from heavier elements in the cosmos?

we know that stars fuse hydrogen into helium starting at 3 MK; 13 MK in the Sun's core; carbon fusion starts at above 500 million K, and silicon fusion starts at over 2700 million K for comparison; ...
4
votes
1answer
92 views

Does gravitational lensing cause a black-hole to be the main 'source' of light in a given area?

Light gets bent around high-gravity sources, such as a black-hole. A source of light, say A, is directly observed in its 'true' position and some of its light is bent around the black-hole, X, which ...
5
votes
2answers
151 views

Why do black holes have jets and accretion disks?

If supermassive black holes possess the gravity required to prevent the escape of photons and other mass particles, why do jets and accretion disks form? They seem to indicate that something is ...
9
votes
2answers
103 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
49 views

How much did we know about asteroids at the beginning of the 20th century?

When was the nature and size of asteroids discovered? I was under the impression that it was not until the 1980s or 1990s with deeper space probes and Hubble imagery that we learned the nature of ...
-2
votes
1answer
220 views

Is it possible the Nebular Hypothesis and Planetesimal Theory are not correct? [closed]

For almost 3 centuries now the Nebular Hypothesis and Planetesimal Theory have become the preeminent explanations for how the Solar System and Planets evolved. Yet there is still no explanation for ...
8
votes
1answer
652 views

Finding the solar noon based on longitude and latitude?

Please could someone advise the best method of finding the solar noon based upon location? http://pveducation.org/pvcdrom/properties-of-sunlight/suns-position The stuff on here has been helpful but ...
6
votes
1answer
51 views

What does observational evidence say about the number of protoplanets believed to exist in the early solar system?

Currently, the solar system has 8 major planets, a handful of dwarf planets and a plethora of asteroids, comets and natural debris, and of course, a rather locally dominant star (the Sun). There are ...
22
votes
2answers
317 views

Two species of dark matter?

At this point in time, evidence for the existence of dark matter has accumulated in many ways: it affects galactic rotation curves plays a major role in cosmology, and the evolution of structure in ...
4
votes
1answer
36 views

Are we still in the Solar Maximus stage? Will this winter 2013/14 be a good aurora-viewing season?

I remember reading in 2011 that 2013/2014 would be the peak of the current solar maximus, but I want to confirm whether that is still ongoing. Will the upcoming winter season be a good time to see ...
7
votes
1answer
56 views

Dealing with damp and dew whilst stargazing at night or in the early morning

Sometimes when using my telescope late at night or early in the morning, especially in the more humid of seasons, I notice i sometimes get dew buildup on the lenses. How can I minimize damp buildup ...
7
votes
1answer
54 views

How can I clean my lenses without causing scratching or damages to the lens surface?

Sometimes you can be trying to observe very faint or very small objects in the sky and it wouldn't pay to have these obscured or marred by a scratch or dust on the lenses. I keep to good practices ...
12
votes
3answers
164 views

How can I safely observe a Solar Flare?

Solar Flares obviously release extreme amounts of energy and extend thousands of miles out into space. Because they are so big I would like to be able to observe some of these events through a ...
6
votes
1answer
55 views

What might cause a planet to have a significant tilt in their orbit?

Most of the planets in our solar system all orbit along the same plane, supposedly because of the almost flat dust clouds that formed the planets. But some planets, such as the one featured below, ...
7
votes
1answer
82 views

Timescale of ignition of a protostar?

What is the timescale of start of nuclear fusion as T Tauri type star transforms into a Main Sequence star? Wikipedia article on T Tauri type stars mentions: Their central temperatures are too ...
5
votes
1answer
124 views

What effects do other planets have on the solar system?

For instance, Jupiter is the biggest planet in our solar system. Due to it's gravitational mass it can deflect meteorites and protect Earth from the Oort cloud. While these are positives, the ...
1
vote
3answers
97 views

Why does Astronomy still use the Anno Domini system for Time Synchronization

Since Time is such a valuable variable in the calculation of Astronomic movement why does the Astronomy Community still rely on the the 6th Century Anno Domini system developed by Dionysius Exiguus to ...

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