9
votes
3answers
311 views

Planets and Pluto? Neptune?

If one of the rules to be a planet is that it needs to clear ALL objects from their orbit, does this also make Neptune a non-planet? Since it has thus far failed to clear Pluto (and based on an answer ...
7
votes
1answer
306 views

How Much Overlap Will the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way Have When They Collide?

Measurements of Andromeda's blue shift let us conclude that the distance between the Andromeda galaxy and the Milky Way is decreasing and in a few billion years they will "collide". The blue shift ...
7
votes
1answer
187 views

How can we tell the difference between matter and antimatter by observation in space?

I just was wondering and searching on the internet with little luck in the topic. On Antimatter Wiki they tell the observable universe is built up by matter. I read antimatter can be detected in ...
6
votes
1answer
157 views

How was the hypothetical ninth planet kicked so far out of the Solar System?

I was reading this article on science news and ran into the following statement: Such a remote super-Earth probably originated closer to the sun only to be kicked out by the other giant planets ...
6
votes
1answer
111 views

Best approximation for Sun's trajectory around galactic center?

What is the current best approximation for the path the Sun takes around the center of the Milky Way? I have found some information on the approximate position of the Milky Way's center, the speed of ...
5
votes
2answers
131 views

Assuming a sufficient amount of mass above the density threshold, does the actual concentration of the mass matter in creating a black hole?

I've heard that the actual density of a black hole (within the volume of the event horizon) is pretty low - does that mean that any sufficiently large volume of mass over that density is also a black ...
5
votes
1answer
654 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
89 views

Why does Saturn have both moons and rings?

From my understanding, a ring can form around a planet when a moon gets too close to its Roche limit, and gets ripped appart by the planet's gravity pull. That makes sense to me, but I don't ...
3
votes
1answer
80 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
3answers
164 views

Quasars and SMBH

Quasars are known to contain supermassive Black Holes at their cores. So does that mean that the number of quasars is equal to that of the SMBHs out there?
2
votes
2answers
116 views

Does all of time exist and if so where is it?

I've recently learned about the theory of relativity and time. I'm trying to understand it more. My (basic) understanding is that there is no distinction between past present and future and that ...
2
votes
1answer
63 views

How massive does a main sequence star need to be to go type 1 supernova?

We know the mass a white dwarf needs to be. That's well defined by the Chandrasekhar limit, but before a main sequence star turns into a white dwarf it tends to lose a fair bit of its matter in a ...
2
votes
2answers
247 views

How Do we know about redshift?

Okay so scientists use the red shift to know that galaxies are moving away from us faster than light. How do we know that its not just red light from red stars. i mean most stars are in the infrared ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

How to find Exomoons?

How would we be able to detect Exomoons? We detect exoplanets by seeing if the light gets faint from a star, but could we really use the same method for determining if there is an exomoon around that ...
1
vote
4answers
257 views

Is it possible for a star to orbit a planet?

Is it possible for a red dwarf to orbit a gas giant? OR Has this happened and it is just assumed that the gas giant is orbiting the star?
1
vote
2answers
131 views

Outside of a Universe and its origin

Per the Big Bang Theory, the universe was formed from a dense singular point which existed 13 billion years ago and has been expanding ever since. This suggests that the point should have existed ...
1
vote
3answers
147 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
220 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?
0
votes
2answers
78 views

What is the future of our universe?

Is the universe heading towards a Big Freeze, a Big Rip, a Big Crunch or a Big Bounce? Or is it part of an infinitely recurring cyclic model?
-2
votes
2answers
75 views

Does the sun itself present the problem of global warming is it the main cause? [closed]

the sun itself is not responsible for global warming, it must be that the temperature is changing due to climate changes. Anyone?
41
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 ...
56
votes
4answers
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 ...
34
votes
3answers
4k 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
648 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.
20
votes
2answers
554 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 ...
19
votes
5answers
1k 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.
17
votes
3answers
1k 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?
16
votes
8answers
5k 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
711 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
2answers
347 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
316 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 ...
22
votes
1answer
403 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
3k views

How did Mars come to have a 24 hour 39 minute day?

Mercury rotates three times for every two revolutions around the Sun, apparently due to a gravitational resonance with the Sun.Venus takes about 225 days to rotate, and rotates in the opposite ...
13
votes
1answer
189 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
312 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
149 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
838 views

When will all eight planets in our solar system align?

Ignoring expansion of the universe, entropy, decaying orbits, and interference from any bodies colliding with or otherwise interfering with their orbits, will the eight planets known planets in our ...
1
vote
2answers
196 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 ...
22
votes
2answers
493 views

How do I calculate the inclination of an object with an amateur telescope?

Suppose I would like to calculate the inclination of a satellite from the ecliptic. Would it be possible to do this with an amateur telescope? How would I go about doing so? Note: A good answer ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

How bright would the sun appear from the hypothetical Planet Nine proposed by Caltech?

Theoretical Planet Nine, proposed by Caltech's Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin, is said to have a 15-20 thousand year orbit. Approximately how bright would the sun appear from Planet Nine aphelion ...
14
votes
5answers
2k views

By putting a mirror in space, would we be able to see into the past?

I only ask this because of how fast light travels. The question remains in the title. Why, or why not, would this work?
13
votes
4answers
5k 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. ...
13
votes
4answers
475 views

What is Gravitational Lensing?

What is the effect known as gravitational lensing? How does it work? What objects would be able to cause this effect?
11
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
539 views

How many galaxies have been discovered?

I know Andromeda is our nearest galaxy. But how many known galaxies have been discovered and what are they?
9
votes
1answer
315 views

Why are there no green stars?

There are red stars, and orange stars, and yellow stars, and blue stars, and they are all understandable save the fact that there is a 'gap': There are no green stars. Is this because of hydrogen's ...
8
votes
1answer
6k 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
1answer
187 views

How often does the supermassive black hole in the Milky Way become a quasar?

My current interest is black holes and quasars. I was wondering how often they erupt--specifically ours? Would it be blindingly bright on Earth? Finally, would there be any effects that would alter ...
7
votes
2answers
236 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 ...

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