6
votes
1answer
70 views

How do large solar flares compare to flares on other stars?

Solar are violent releases of solar magnetic energy. Other stars are also known to have magnetic fields, in some cases much stronger than the Sun. How do the largest stellar flares compare to the ...
7
votes
1answer
77 views

What is the largest recorded solar flare?

For the purposes of this question I would interpret the word "recorded" as loosely as possible meaning that historic records such as ice cores or tree rings would count. Also what effect did such a ...
6
votes
1answer
335 views

What is the standard reference point for measuring speed?

Speed, as we know, doesn't exist without first having a reference point. We then say that the reference point isn't moving at all, and speed is then measured in relation to the reference point. What ...
12
votes
1answer
193 views

How do/did we figure out that planets move in orbits?

I've learned that planets move in orbits around the Sun, but I really don't know how I would come to this conclusion myself. I've only seen planets in the sky a couple times (knowingly), and I am ...
2
votes
0answers
71 views

How can I create tracks of the planet's orbits on my computer? [closed]

I'm wondering if there's any good computer software for tracking the orbits of planets over time. I like to see the orbit's trails against the sky background. I'd prefer something that's free and of ...
6
votes
2answers
858 views

Does the Moon's magnetic field affect Earth's magnetic field?

I wanted to ask a question; it's simple but I cannot find any possible and perfect solution. Earth has poles, North and South. By which we can get directions using a compass or a needle compass, but ...
6
votes
1answer
75 views

How can an amateur astronomer verify the position of near Earth objects?

Sometimes, hobby-astronomers use rather professional means to observe the big voids of space. Every now and then (think in months, not days) even I can locate an NEO (near Earth object). Now, I'm ...
10
votes
4answers
139 views

What is the orbital path of the newly discovered star-less planet PSO J318.5-22?

Recent results from Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa claim that there is a Jupiter-sized gas giant planet that is independent of a star about 80 light-years from Earth. ...
7
votes
2answers
243 views

Where does the radiation in space come from and can we observe it?

I have recently been reading that space travel is strongly influenced by "space radiation" and how it poses a threat to human space exploration. Does this radiation originate from stars like our Sun, ...
7
votes
2answers
732 views

Are Barlow Lenses Good For Deep Sky Observing?

I'm using a 750mm (focal length) by 150mm (aperture) newtonian reflector and I've been curious about using Barlow lenses on deep sky objects. Some of the astronomers at my local observatory say that ...
12
votes
1answer
129 views

Affordable night sky photography

As an amateur with limited budget, I'd be interested in taking photos of the night sky, trying to capture more detail than human eye armed with a lens of comparable parameters to what I have in my ...
10
votes
1answer
122 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

How many planetary systems exist in our galaxy?

For many years scientists have studied our own solar system and modern technology allows them to look deeper and deeper into space. Knowing the Sun is only one of a few billion stars in the Milky Way ...
27
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
2answers
435 views

Why does the Earth have a tilt of ~23°?

Is there a reason that the Earth has the tilt that it does (~23°)? How do we know which way is supposed to be 0°? Does this tilt have major consequences on the planet? Has it changed and will it ...
7
votes
2answers
100 views

Did the Late Heavy Bombardment Period Happen Because of a Stellar System Collision?

I was thinking about the impending collision between M31 and the milky way galaxy, and I've heard that since a galaxy is mostly space most of the contents of both galaxies would be just fine. Could a ...
8
votes
2answers
150 views

How often does Earth cross the galaxy regions with higher supernovae activity?

According to Summa Technologiae, a book by a Polish author Stanisław Lem that based his science fiction novels on scientific research of the era, the Earth crossed in the moment of forming of life the ...
4
votes
1answer
66 views

How long would it take for a rogue planet to evaporate in the late stages of the Universe?

I've read once a popular science book, in which the author calculated how long would it take for the most massive black holes to evaporate because of Hawking radiation. He claimed that after that time ...
5
votes
1answer
37 views

Why do X-ray binaries such as GRS-1915 have active and quiet states?

X-ray binaries such as GRS-1915 feature a black hole and a regular star. The x-ray luminosity is likely related to the rate of mass flow into the black hole from the star so when there is a lot of ...
8
votes
2answers
61 views

What is the Neupert Effect?

This effect is frequently discussed in the context of solar time series. In particular, it a relationship between soft x-ray (thermal emission) and hard x-ray (nonthermal emission) from the Sun.
8
votes
1answer
179 views

What Causes the Large Radiation Fields Around Jupiter?

I had heard that the large radiation belts around Jupiter may be formed by liquid metallic hydrogen in (or around) Jupiter's core (which Wikipedia says haven't been observed in labs yet due to the ...
6
votes
1answer
109 views

What are some theories that explain the 11 year solar cycle?

The Sun exhibits a periodic cycle for solar activity as manifested by solar activity (e.g. sunspots, solar flares). This activity is related to magnetic fields which emerge from the interior of the ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Should I focus more on Aperture or Focal Length for a telescope?

Let's assume there are three types of telescopes with the following specifications: ...
3
votes
1answer
61 views

What theories are there in explaining the formation of the Pluto-Charon system?

After reading the question and answer to Effect of Charon on Pluto, a further question is this: how is the Pluto-Charon relationship explained? Specifically, what theories are there in how did the ...
5
votes
1answer
159 views

Why does squinting make hard-to-see objects clearer?

So I, like most other astronomy enthusiasts, have, at some point, not been able to see something clearly, such as a star, and have had to squint to be able to see it better. When this happens, the ...
5
votes
2answers
87 views

Why Do Planets Revolve Faster When they Are Closer to Their Parent Star?

According to Kepler's second law: A planet sweeps out equal areas in equal times (A simple definition). This means that if the orbit is somewhat eccentric, the planet will move faster when on the ...
6
votes
1answer
80 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, ...
6
votes
1answer
60 views

Earth and ferromagnetism [closed]

Earth's core is a giant liquid iron ball actually. If I know well, the magnetic field of our planet (that protects the surface from some particles comes from the Sun) can exist because as Earth ...
10
votes
1answer
127 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?
9
votes
5answers
195 views

Orbiting around a black hole

Is it possible (for either a satellite or a planet) to orbit around a black hole? Do they attract everything around themselves into the center? Or they just affect gravitational force just like stars? ...
10
votes
3answers
130 views

What limits the usable focal length of telescopes currently?

What barriers - of technology, physics and possibly economy (things that would be possible technologically but are simply too expensive) sets the upper bound on quality of telescopes for observation ...
3
votes
2answers
154 views

Which galaxy is receding from the Milky Way 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
3answers
1k views

Why isn't Earth a perfect sphere? [closed]

In general, almost everyone describes Earth as an perfect sphere, but in reality it isn't a perfect sphere. Is there any specific reason why Earth is not perfect sphere ?
11
votes
1answer
249 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
201 views

Dimensions of a black hole

How big can a black hole become and how small can a black hole become?(minimum and maximum dimensions of a black hole)
8
votes
2answers
127 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
133 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?
9
votes
3answers
892 views

Jupiter FM - What are practical and inexpensive ways for the amateur detection of signals from Jupiter, especially of the transit of her moons?

What modifications to a standard AM/FM or shortwave radio are needed in order to be able to detect radio-wave signals emitted from Jupiter? Would it be possible to detect the transit of the major ...
7
votes
2answers
235 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
217 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
109 views

What is the mass of hotspots in the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation?

A lot of pop science articles (for example, this Space.com article) discuss the cold spots on the WMAP data of Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation, but have any studies been done on the large ...
0
votes
1answer
334 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
56 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
79 views

How can the orbit of a Kuiper Belt Object be differentiated from the transit of a rogue planet?

Related to the question "Are any Pluto-sized objects remaining to be discovered in the Kuiper Belt?" and the fact that most of the Kuiper Belt objects have very elliptical orbits, the question begs, ...
15
votes
2answers
310 views

What are practical considerations for backyard radio-astronomy detection of black holes?

Evidently, direct observation of a black hole for an amateur astronomer, such as described for what professionals do in the question "How are black holes found?" would be nigh on impossible, so the ...
7
votes
2answers
100 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
154 views

Future of CMB observations: How will our knowledge of the early universe change?

The Planck satellite has been presented and awaited for a long time as the ultimate experiments for measuring temperature fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) over the full sky. One ...
4
votes
1answer
40 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
190 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 ...

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