10
votes
1answer
412 views

Explaining Dark Matter and Dark Energy to layman

With my little knowledge, I know this: Dark Matter The center of a galaxy controls/attracts its objects (stars, planets, comets etc.) towards itself because of gravity. But the mass of the center of ...
10
votes
2answers
303 views

How are Galaxy Super Clusters Generated

I have seen pictures of clusters of galaxies, usually used in regards to theories of dark matter and galaxy formations. One of the most famous ones has the perceived shape of a stick-figure. If I am ...
10
votes
1answer
55 views

Loss of atmosphere on Mars

If the atmosphere on Mars was once much thicker, how was it likely lost? Was it due to interaction with the solar wind, the small size of the planet, both, or something else, and approximately how ...
10
votes
1answer
141 views

What are the current observational constraints on the existence of Nemesis?

Nemesis is a hypothetical companion to the Sun on a very eccentric, long-period orbit. The star supposedly returns every few tens of millions years, driving comets into the inner solar system and ...
10
votes
2answers
313 views

How does angular resolution of a telescope translate to its parallax precision?

We can often read in the scientific and also more casual reader literature and articles about the angular resolution of various telescopes and other optical equipment, be it ground based or onboard ...
10
votes
2answers
115 views

Relativistic effects in stellar dynamical systems

I am curious, if anybody knows of any stellar dynamical systems/environments, where relativistic effects could play a dynamical role on the motion of these stellar systems? As a subquestion - are ...
10
votes
1answer
151 views

On what scale does the universe expand?

According to the theory (or my understanding of it), the universe is not only expanding, but speeding up. If the galaxies are moving apart, are the solar systems within them also moving apart from ...
10
votes
1answer
226 views

Navigation using moon phases

How to navigate with possible maximal precision using moon phases? The Moon is the brightest celestial body seen in the night sky, and it is possible to find even through moderate clouds. So it's a ...
10
votes
2answers
520 views

Does matter accumulate just outside the event horizon of a black hole?

My understanding is that time slows and approaches stopping when approaching the event horizon of a black hole. I have seen this explained several places, including a brief explanation in the last ...
10
votes
1answer
218 views

What is the object in this photo?

What object is in this photo? View coordinates: $47.25103 \ \ 38.81697$ Time: $2013$-$11$-$23 ~21$:$00 +4 ~UTC$ Sony $A580, \ 50mm f/1.4 15"$
10
votes
1answer
306 views

Inflation cosmology: slow-roll inflation versus tunneling between two vacua

In slow-roll inflation models, the early inflation of the universe is driven by the flat non-zero part of the inflaton potential, and it ends as the ball rolls down the cliff and the potential energy ...
10
votes
1answer
54 views

How can we detect water on Mars-like exoplanets?

According to data from Curiosity, Mars' dust holds about 2% water by weight This wasn't previously detected, so the impression we have had of Mars being incredibly dry may need to be altered. Okay it ...
10
votes
2answers
161 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
1answer
131 views

Which came first: black holes or galaxies?

In other terms, did galaxies grow around black holes at their center?
10
votes
1answer
112 views

How is it known that Callisto has no core?

My Astronomy book claims that scientists have discovered that Callisto, a moon of Jupiter, has no hot inner core. In fact, it says, Callisto has a core much like the nucleus of a comet. Is this still ...
10
votes
3answers
216 views

Blowing up an asteroid/comet really potentially worse?

Often on television shows and in articles I see it mentioned that it'd always be bad to blow up an asteroid or comet because then the energy would just be spread out and cause even more damage. ...
10
votes
1answer
103 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
327 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
141 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
4answers
177 views

Where might a semi proficient amateur analyst participate in meaningful astronomical efforts

I am a retired engineer that has an ongoing interest in space efforts. In my youth I did work on the Apollo program but on propulsion and vehicle thermal control: not flight dynamics. I have ...
10
votes
1answer
203 views

Why haven't asteroid belts turned into new large bodies?

If gravitation (attraction of mass) is the cause of the formation of all celestial bodies then how come the numerous small bodies found in asteroid belts spread over an orbit instead of clustering ...
10
votes
2answers
130 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) ...
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
6answers
2k views

Why doesn't Earth's axis change during the year?

My understanding is that the Earth's axis points in the same direction in space during its entire orbit around the sun. And this is what causes our seasons. My question is why doesn't the axis follow ...
9
votes
3answers
562 views

Where does the Milky Way end?

I was reading this article and it says the following: Researchers measured the mass of the Milky Way and found that our galaxy is approximately half the weight of a neighbouring galaxy known as ...
9
votes
5answers
232 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? ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is there a black stripe in the Hubble images of Pluto?

While reading reports about the New Horizons misson, I noticed an odd vertical, black stripe in the images of Pluto. Here is an example: Source: Hubble Discovers a Fifth Moon Orbiting Pluto ...
9
votes
3answers
413 views

Why are orbits elliptical instead of circular?

Why do planets rotate around a star in a specific elliptical orbit with the star at one of it's foci? Why isn't the orbit a circle?
9
votes
2answers
3k views

Is Sun a part of a binary system?

Does our Sun have a counterpart, i.e., is it a part of a binary-system? If so, how does the other star look like and where is it?
9
votes
3answers
428 views

How do we know the big bang didn't happen in an existing universe?

I understand the evidence for the big bang (expansion, background radiation, etc), but how do we know that it was the start of the universe? Why couldn't it have occurred in an existing, but very ...
9
votes
1answer
562 views

Do all orbiting bodies eventually collide?

If two celestial bodies are in orbit, will they always eventually collide if not acted upon by outside forces?
9
votes
3answers
383 views

How to detect emission lines in optical spectra?

Is there any handy module to detect emission lines in a spectrum like one we get from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS)? You can see there are many emission lines like Ha,OI in the spectrum below. ...
9
votes
2answers
44 views

Official registry of lunar placenames?

What's the definitive source for names of geographic objects on the moon? Reason: As a computer graphics project I've rendered a scene based on LROC terrain data. I want to know what I'm looking at. ...
9
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
329 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
3answers
651 views

How can the 13.8 billion years old universe have a radius of 46 billion light years?

The universe is about 13.8 billion years old. Assume at the big-bang it starts from a small region and the maximum possible speed according Einstein is the speed of light how can the universe got a ...
9
votes
3answers
212 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
225 views

Will new stars stop forming at some point of time?

New stars keep forming in the universe thanks to all the nebulae. Now, we need Hydrogen to form stars and there would a time when all the hydrogen will get exhausted, and no more star formation will ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Is there any telescope on Earth that can see the lunar rovers on the moon?

If I have the right numbers, it seems to me that even Hubble telescope might barely be able to make out a carcass of a blue whale on the surface of the moon, which puts objects as small as the lunar ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

How do scientists determine the age of stars?

I was Googling about the oldest galaxies in the Universe. Everywhere is written that their age is known by the light. Referring to this line "Since light travels at a set speed, if you look at a star ...
9
votes
2answers
115 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.
9
votes
3answers
2k 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 ?
9
votes
1answer
568 views

Is there a limit to how hot a star can be?

I think that size and mass do not correlate to temperature, but then again these factors contribute to the internal pressure. I would like to know if there is a limit to how hot a star can get and ...
9
votes
1answer
189 views

How did scientists determine an estimate of the number of planets greater than Sedna's size to exist in the Inner Oort Cloud?

In the article, New Dwarf Planet Found at Solar System's Edge, Hints at Possible Faraway 'Planet X' (Wall, 2014) where they report on research and observations performed by astronomers that discovered ...
9
votes
1answer
211 views

Can we see the Big Bang happen if we look far enough?

The observable universe is constantly expanding as more light from the Big Bang reaches us. This light has been travelling for billions of years, so we are looking at the universe as it was a few ...
9
votes
2answers
312 views

Is there any point on earth where the moon stays below the horizon for an extended period of time?

When I was teaching a class why the earth has seasons today, I mentioned how the poles of the earth experience months of daylight and darkness. Then one of my students asked whether the moon ...
9
votes
3answers
433 views

How can the Earth's rotation speed up? [closed]

It is known as a fact that Earth's rotation is slowing every year, that's why we sometimes have 61 seconds long minutes. In the Java documentation of Time : ...
9
votes
1answer
402 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
156 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
294 views

Why does a planet rotate and revolve?

Why do planets rotate and revolve in the universe?

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