11
votes
1answer
237 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
475 views

How do we know dark matter/dark energy exists?

I've never quite understood the theory behind why dark matter and dark energy exist. I know it has something to do with gravitational pull being stronger than what we calculate it SHOULD be, could ...
10
votes
1answer
132 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
126 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) ...
10
votes
2answers
320 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?
8
votes
3answers
556 views

Is the Jupiter-Sun system considered a binary system of some type?

Since Jupiter is very massive, it is the only planet (in our solar system) that has a center of mass with the Sun that lies outside the volume of the Sun. (Source) If Jupiter was a star, they would ...
8
votes
2answers
134 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
73 views

Calculation of Horizontal Coordinates

Given a fixed coordinate location on Earth (i.e. a latitude and longitude), and a fixed equatorial coordinate location of a particular astronomical object in the sky (i.e. right ascension and ...
6
votes
1answer
77 views

What are the current accepted theories of the formation of the Uranian moon Miranda?

Miranda, a moon of Uranus is unique in that it has a very fractured surface Source: University of Oregon The surface is said to be jagged and fractured, with comparatively large disjointed cliffs ...
6
votes
1answer
386 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
136 views

Is there a ceiling for stable L4 or L5 masses?

L4 and L5, the Lagrange points 60 degrees leading and trailing an orbiting body, are famous for being stable. A well known example are the Trojan aseroids at the Sun Jupiter L4 and L5. Nodding to ...
5
votes
1answer
214 views

What's a good step up from 7x50 binoculars?

I own a Nikon OceanPro 7x50 pair of binoculars, but I find that when I look at the moon, I would like more magnification. My requirements are: costs less than $400 weighs less than 10kg the length ...
5
votes
2answers
93 views

Are Gamma Ray Bursts of galactic or extragalactic origin?

I read about the 1995 Lamb-Paczynski debate on whether GRBs are galactic or extragalactic in origin. With our current experimental evidence, have we found whether GRBs are galactic or extragalactic?
4
votes
2answers
179 views

How do moons get captured?

[Apologies if this is a duplicate: I feel it ought to be, but my searches have failed]. A moon-sized object is running loose in the Solar System, perhaps after a planetary collision. As it approaches ...
4
votes
1answer
184 views

Cancelling out earth rotation speed, Altazimuth mount

I have a Dobsonian telescope. It is using Altazimuth mount. Basic idea of using it is to target the object by moving telescope vertical axis perpendicular to the ground, and an elevation axis that ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Would an exoplanet without axial tilt have no seasons?

Would an Earth analog exoplanet which rotates around a solar analog, but without axial tilt, have no seasons? Would it be similar to how Los Angeles does not have very noticeable seasons compared to ...
4
votes
3answers
209 views

Is there enough hydrogen left after a star dies so another star will have enough to light up?

A star consumes quite a lot of hydrogen in its life, and is pretty much "vacuuming" everything in its vicinity. After it dies (eventually by supernova which will spread all its composition over light ...
4
votes
1answer
593 views

When will the Milky Way “arrive” at the Great Attractor, and what all happen then?

The Great Attractor is described as a location to towards which the Milky Way, along with all other galaxies in the Laniakea Supercluster are moving. How long will it take for the Milky Way to ...
4
votes
1answer
114 views

Any cheap (less than 100 euro) telescope for observing Jupiter? [closed]

The moon is not challenging. I would like to observe the big planets and their rings.
4
votes
2answers
373 views

How to plot orbit of binary star and calculate its orbital elements?

I have a set of dates, position angles ($\theta$) and angular separations ($\rho$) for visual binary star. For example: ...
3
votes
2answers
81 views

Standard practices and models for generating the ephemerides of the solar system

I am familiar with the theory on generating the positions of the members of the solar system, but have been unable to find out the standard practices and methods of professional astronomers in ...
3
votes
1answer
126 views

Where did this famous Planetary Precession Formula come from?

The following equation (which I shall term the Planetary Precession Formula, PPF for short) famously appeared in a 1915 publication by Einstein where he indicated how it could be derived from his ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

How to calculate Longitude from Right Ascension?

Considering that a star of certain declination is crossing the local meridian at the observer's zenith at an unknown location on the earth. Here, the declination of the star is equal to the observer's ...
2
votes
1answer
49 views

brown dwarfs and planets

As far as I know, a brown dwarf is a 'star' whose core never underwent a fusion reaction, so it never became a star. So I was wondering if, appart from orbiting a star, is there any difference between ...
2
votes
4answers
71 views

Can objects enter hydrostatic equillibrium through processes other than the influence of gravity?

Wouldn't a droplet of liquid (say water) floating around in space become spherical and "in hydrostatic equilibrium" due to surface tension but not gravity?
2
votes
1answer
57 views

Star System Formation questions

I'm making a game in which I'd like to randomly generate star systems. Which is cool. The trouble I'm having is working out exactly what limits I need to place on the generation. So far, the ...
2
votes
1answer
50 views

What is the ratio of cosmic microwave background radiation to normal radiation?

I would like to know the ratio of cosmic microwave background radiation to normal radiation in the universe. I am considering cosmic microwave background radiation to include the microwave, and any ...
1
vote
0answers
34 views

How can you determine the initial volume of a planet's atmosphere?

Since the surface pressure of a planet is determined by the mass of the column of gasses above it one would surmise that to determine the pressure you must know the volume and mass of the atmosphere. ...
1
vote
1answer
75 views

Gravitational pull needed to keep a gas in atmosphere

How can you determine the gravitational force needed to keep a particular gas in the atmosphere of a planet (for example, carbon dioxide (CO2))? I came across the following formula ...
1
vote
3answers
177 views

Can there be an infinity of stars in the Universe?

I have a mind puzzle. Can there be an infinity of stars in the Universe ? I have 2 opposed reasonings, yet I don’t find any flaw in them. Can you help me here ? Answer A : No, the number of stars ...
1
vote
1answer
171 views

Please Guide me to buy my first Telescope [duplicate]

I am a beginner and I've planned to buy a telescope(Newtonian reflector)for viewing planets and deep sky objects. As far as I know the most important factor to get a brighter view is that the ...
1
vote
2answers
140 views

Contradict the expansion of the universe?

Lets say that we observe in a distant galaxy cluster, which in all the galaxies move far away from us. and here we see in the same cluster a galaxy that move away from us in a much lower velocity ...
0
votes
2answers
249 views

When we see the Sun, do we actually see its past?

The Sun's rays hit our eyes around 8 minutes after they are emitted from the Sun. Does this mean that the Sun that we see is always the Sun as it was some 8 minutes before? I strongly think this must ...
16
votes
4answers
4k views

If Jupiter is a gas-giant then why don't its features change?

A naive question. When we look at Jupiter, we see that its features didn't change largely over many years, for instance, the red-spot. If it is composed of gases and liquids, then why aren't the ...
14
votes
1answer
877 views

What does it mean for a star to go nova or supernova? Can I safely observe these?

What does it mean for a star when people say it goes 'nova' or super nova, what are the differences? More importantly, can I safely observe these with an amateur telescope? I imagine they would be ...
14
votes
1answer
167 views

Why is the Sun's atmosphere (the corona) so hot?

The visible surface of the Sun is 6000 degrees Celsius but the gas in the solar corona is at least 1 million degrees. What heats the solar corona?
12
votes
1answer
294 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
565 views

Why do stars appear to twinkle?

Sometimes at night you will look up to the stars and they will appear to twinkle, getting brighter and darker in bursts. Why does this happen? Is this because of our atmosphere? Would they twinkle ...
11
votes
2answers
869 views

Do other planets in our solar system experience eclipses or is this unique to Earth?

Here on Earth we get to experience lunar and solar eclipses. Is this pure coincidence that everything happens to line up? Do other planets in the solar system experience this phenomenon or is this ...
10
votes
2answers
150 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)?
10
votes
2answers
161 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
318 views

Determining effect of small variable force on planetary perihelion precession

Is there an analytical technique for determining the effect of a small variable transverse acceleration upon the rate of aspides precession (strictly not a precession but rotation of the line of ...
10
votes
1answer
133 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
180 views

What is the upper and lower limit of temperatures found on stars?

What are the most extreme temperatures (both hot and cold) stars have been detected at? Is there an upper and lower limit for the detected temperature of stars?
9
votes
2answers
286 views

Is it possible to break apart a neutron star?

I was inspired by this question on Physics, as well as this question right here on Astronomy. Neutron stars are tightly bound together as neutron degenerate matter. They're very massive and have a ...
9
votes
8answers
1k 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
1answer
141 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?
9
votes
1answer
168 views

Parking a telescope at a Lagrange point: is this a good idea from a debris point of view?

The James Webb space telescope is supposed to be located at the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange point. Do we expect the region around that point to have a higher concentration of space debris, asteroids, ...
8
votes
3answers
213 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 ...

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