6
votes
1answer
53 views

Have Pluto or any of its moons been mapped?

I was looking over some of the data for the terrestrial planets, and noticed that Venus, despite its cloud covering, had been mapped by the Arecibo Observatory. Also that other planets such as mars, ...
8
votes
1answer
92 views

Why Did Mars lose its Magnetic Field?

I had heard that Mars once had a planetary magnetic field, but that it is now gone? What happened to it?
3
votes
1answer
63 views

Which galaxy is receding from the Milky the fastest? What is known of the mechanism behind its recession?

Galaxies are always in motion relative to the Milky Way, my question is, which galaxy is receding the fastest from our viewpoint? What is the theorised mechanism that causes this?
9
votes
1answer
85 views

Is the surface of TrES-2b actually dark?

The exoplanet TrES-2b is known as the darkest planet ever found, reflecting <1% of the light that hits it. What does it mean in respect to the surface? What would we see below the atmosphere of ...
7
votes
2answers
104 views

Moon orbits crossing each other

Some planets, such as Mars, have 2 or more moons. Giants, like Jupiter of Saturn have a lot of moons! How likely the orbit of one crosses another one's orbit? Is it possible for two moons to collide? ...
7
votes
1answer
113 views

Which is the closest exoplanet to Earth?

The closest star to Earth (after the Sun) is well-known: Alpha Centauri, 4.3 light years away. But what about the closest exoplanet to Earth, outside of the Solar System?
6
votes
2answers
149 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
46 views

Current limitations in radio-astronomical spectrometry analysis of local interstellar cloud's hyperfine structures

I've been trying to wrap my head around capabilities of current radio-astronomical spectrometry technology to isolate not too distant tenuous sources, say, chemical composition and density of the the ...
6
votes
2answers
83 views

Does the Moon Have Enough Water for Robert Zubrin's Mars settlement Plan To Work?

In Robert Zubrin's "The Case for Mars" he outlines a plan to settle Mars by(among other things) finding water and using electrolysis to break up water into Hydrogen and Oxygen. This provides fuel for ...
11
votes
2answers
207 views

Space expansion in layman terms

So far I got to understand the expansion of space is not to be understood as stars drifting further apart through space. There's something more fundamental - e.g. you can't simply measure speed of it, ...
0
votes
1answer
198 views

Reason for disqualifying Pluto as a Planet? [duplicate]

Pluto is no longer a member of the planets in the solar system. Why was it disqualified as a planet? What is the criteria for classifying an Astronomical Object as a Planet? Does this criteria ...
1
vote
0answers
34 views

What are right ascension and declination? [duplicate]

I'm trying to learn how I can use my amateur telescope, and I was reading a tutorial that talked about right ascension and declination. I have looked around a bit online, but most of the answers are a ...
12
votes
1answer
101 views

How often do comets survive passage by the Sun?

I had heard that comet ISON might not survive a close pass by our Sun, and I was curious about the odds of how other comets had fared. So, how often do other comets survive a close pass by our sun? ...
4
votes
1answer
37 views

Does the Perseid peak cause enough light pollution to be a problem?

The annual Perseid peak occurs between August 9-14. During this time, about one meteor burns up in the atmosphere per minute. When these meteorites burn up, they generate light. When you have one of ...
15
votes
1answer
160 views

I live in an area with a lot of light pollution, how can I view the stars without building an observatory?

I live in an urban area with a lot of light pollution and very little garden space. On a clear night I can see most of the sky and the brighter stars are visible. I can't build an observatory - I ...
9
votes
1answer
56 views

What practical considerations are there for amateur observations of transiting exoplanets?

Obviously, I am not referring to actual viewing of the exoplanets themselves, but detecting their effects on the brightness of the light emitted from the parent star (as in the diagram below from The ...
8
votes
1answer
51 views

Are any Pluto-sized objects remaining to be discovered in the Kuiper Belt?

An object approximately the same size as Pluto, Eris, was discovered only 8 years ago (in 2005). Are there any Pluto-sized objects remaining to be discovered, and if so, how far away from the Sun ...
7
votes
1answer
26 views

What observational constraints are there in detecting the presence of volcanism on exoplanets?

This question is somewhat related to my earlier question How are the compositional components of exoplanet atmospheres differentiated?, but this about a specific surface-atmospheric phenomena - ...
5
votes
1answer
63 views

Are astronomers researching or trying to find signs of worm holes?

In many movies and in the popular culture wormholes are often referenced, as well as "faster than light travel", which seems almost to be the same thing, is possible. Are astronomers seriously ...
3
votes
2answers
44 views

Why did the Chelyabinsk meteor explode?

In February, a meteor entered the Earth's atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia and exploded, producing a shockwave blast that damaged hundreds of buildings around the explosion site in Russia. But why ...
5
votes
1answer
40 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) ...
6
votes
1answer
127 views

Why is the Moon receding from the Earth due to tides? Is this typical for other moons?

After reading the Q&A Is the moon moving further away from Earth and closer to the Sun? Why? about the tides transferring energy to the Moon and pushing it from Earth, I have a question: How is ...
9
votes
1answer
123 views

What is the current accepted theory for the fate of hot Jupiters?

It is well established that one main feature of many hot jupiters is their close proximity to their parent star, usually the equivalent of being within the orbit of Mercury. So, these planets are gas ...
9
votes
1answer
125 views

If the moon wasn't receding from Earth, what would be the impact on the weather and tides?

Moon is slowly receding from Earth, which means that after its formation it was much closer to the Earth than now. How would weather look like if it wasn't receding at it would be now as close as at ...
8
votes
1answer
63 views

What is the current accepted theory as to why Mercury, despite its size, has a similar density to Earth?

According to the NASA web page overview about Mercury, despite the planet being just a bit larger than our moon, it's density is about 98.4% of Earth's. This high density suggests a comparatively ...
8
votes
1answer
83 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?
7
votes
2answers
123 views

Sky photography through compositing images in software?

I've read about and seen some rather sophisticated rigs for night sky photography that allow for ultra-long-exposure photos by counteracting the rotation of the sky by rotating the camera with it. The ...
8
votes
1answer
180 views

Why does a planet rotate and revolve?

Why do planets rotate and revolve in the universe?
15
votes
1answer
122 views

Why is there a matter/anti-matter asymmetry in the universe?

After the big bang occurred what biased the formation of particles over anti-particles? Why are particles more common than anti-particles?
5
votes
1answer
69 views

Could there be Earth-like planets in binary or trinary systems?

Could Earth-like (suitable for Human habitation) planets exist in systems with 2 or 3 suns, have any been found? With more than a single star, isn't it likely that the habitation zone would be too ...
12
votes
2answers
250 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
131 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
109 views

Has Hawking Radiation Ever Been Observed?

I know Hawking Radiation has firm theoretical footing, but has a signal ever actually been observed? What observational research is being done to attempt to see this effect? Is it simply too tall an ...
11
votes
1answer
113 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
175 views

How long does it take to produce a star? Why does it take that long?

I wonder, why stars take a really long time to become stars? Is it because it needs to gain mass? Or heat up? Something like that? And could it be sped up at all?
11
votes
1answer
120 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
91 views

What is the current accepted hypothesis of what caused Triton's retrograde orbit around Neptune?

According to the NASA overview about Triton, this, the largest satellite of Neptune is unique in that it has a retrograde orbit around Neptune. The page also suggests that Triton is a captured Kuiper ...
10
votes
1answer
99 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
135 views

Do all objects get larger in an “expanding universe”?

I'm envisioning an analogy of the universe as a plane with marbles in that plane to represent different planets. Now, if this plane expands how does this work? I assume that it is not like 'nothing' ...
14
votes
2answers
866 views

Why do sunspots appear dark?

Sunspots, such as this one, appear dark: Why?
6
votes
1answer
285 views

What is the origin of the OBAFGKM classification system?

Once a body has been identified as a star it is classified into a subsection of either O,B,A,F,G,K or M (I think there are also 3 more letters recently added) What is the origin of this ...
7
votes
1answer
55 views

Why does mars appear to retreat across the sky?

If you plot the movement of mars across the Earth's sky it appears to move back on itself during its orbit. Why does it appear to have a loop shape from Earth?
17
votes
2answers
518 views

Why does Jupiter have so many moons?

Jupiter has a great many moons - in the hundreds, and they're still being discovered. What is the current theory for where all these moons came from? Are they rocks flying through space captured by ...
10
votes
3answers
104 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
98 views

What gases are needed to make a star?

What gases do you need to start the creation of a star, and why do you need these gases? What are their functions?
6
votes
1answer
73 views

What is the current routine of modern astronomy? [closed]

With about all visible stars catalogued, measured and photographed it seems that chapter is closed. I realize currently while amateur astronomy is big on cataloguing all asteroids in the Solar System, ...
7
votes
1answer
64 views

How fast do we travel through space?

Could someone give the rough estimates of speeds of our travel through space? I can easily find the two nearby ones: Earth's own rotation - depending on latitude, up to 40,075 km/24h = 463 m/s ...
8
votes
2answers
81 views

What is the evidence that galaxies rotate?

Do all galaxies rotate? If so, do they rotate in the same direction? What observations have been made of galaxy rotation?
11
votes
2answers
79 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?
6
votes
1answer
45 views

What evidence is there of Earth-Like internal features of Europa?

This question is inspired by "What are the Earth-like features of Titan?". According to NASA's Europa overview, Europa is believed to have an iron core, rocky mantle and an ocean under the frozen ...

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