7
votes
3answers
504 views

Do we expect life to develop only in certain regions of the galaxy?

If I understand correctly, the Earth lies in an area of the galaxy - the "local bubble" - that is relatively free of dust and gases and where no new stars are being born. What is the current theory ...
7
votes
1answer
87 views

Age of the universe

We know that the universe is approximately 13.7 billion years old. What methods did we use to discover this? How sure are we about its accuracy?
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?
7
votes
1answer
62 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
76 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
126 views

With gravitational lensing, is it possible to mathematically compute the correct image of the galaxy that is being distorted?

There's been another report of gravitational lensing in the news. Wikipedia has a good image of an example of gravitational lensing taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. This brings me to wonder ...
7
votes
2answers
158 views

Why are most lunar maria on the visible side?

Is there any reason why the Earth side of the Moon has enormous plains and mountains, while the far side contains just few small ones inside largest craters?
7
votes
2answers
250 views

Why haven't Earth and Venus got any tiny moons? Or have they?

Why haven't some meteoroids gotten caught in Earth's or Venus' orbit? AFAIK most meteors are tiny fragments from comets. Shouldn't some comet tail sometime have passed Earth orbit at velocities ...
7
votes
2answers
32 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. ...
7
votes
1answer
73 views

Appearance (popularity) ranking of stars?

Is there some ranking / statistics that shows how common given type of celestial objects is? A table that would allow the answers to questions like: What type of star is most common per volume of our ...
7
votes
2answers
378 views

How long until we cannot see any stars from other galaxies?

Since all the galaxies are moving further away from each other at a faster and faster rate, eventually we won't be able to see stars from other galaxies. How long until we can't see stars from other ...
7
votes
1answer
89 views

What is the Lyman Alpha forest Used For?

The Lyman-alpha forest is an interesting feature found in the spectra of sufficiently distant objects. This series of absorption lines extends over a range of frequencies, and are a result of the ...
7
votes
2answers
51 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.
7
votes
1answer
80 views

Effect of Charon on Pluto

Even though Pluto is not known as a planet anymore, theroetically it has/had a moon, called Charon. I've heard about something that their size are so close to each other that while Charon rotates ...
7
votes
1answer
71 views

How many stars can stay close to each other without collapsing?

Is it possible for two stars to exist close to each other? "Close" is relative; let's assume that two stars are close to each other if they are at the center of the same solar system. It's ...
7
votes
1answer
47 views

How would the pocket cellular clock work?

In a museum in Lviv, I saw a pocket cellular clock. I don't have a photo, but it was a small disc that had 2 or 3 filaments in it which were pointed at the stars (one of them was Andromeda, I think). ...
7
votes
3answers
238 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
129 views

Emulation of an Orrery

Orrery is a clockwork model of the solar system. I am trying to emulate one in 2D. Now, to emulate, I need to know what goes on inside. Can someone please explain the basic principle behind the ...
7
votes
3answers
144 views

Why are planets spherical?

I am a complete novice when it comes to astronomy, but someone asked me the above question casually. It seems as though planets are all roughly spherical, whereas other celestial bodies aren't ...
7
votes
1answer
114 views

How do we know Milky Way is a 'barred' spiral galaxy?

In reference to the question, "How can we tell that the milky way is a spiral galaxy?" The answers there clearly sum up the question asked. But Milky Way is not just a spiral galaxy. It is further ...
7
votes
1answer
62 views

Name of area close to Local Bubble?

The following image is a map of the area surrounding the Local Bubble. One side of the image is 1700 lightyears. From the Sun to the Hyades (immediately below the sun) it is 150 lightyears. The local ...
7
votes
1answer
56 views

Sources of Turbulence in the ISM

What sources of turbulence exist within the Interstellar medium (ISM)? Which ones are physically the most important for newly forming stellar systems?
7
votes
1answer
53 views

Crab Nebula Time Period

I've learned that the time period for a rotating neutron star, i.e., a pulsar is very accurate and can be used as an interstellar clock. But according to Walter Lewin's 8.01 Lec 19 on classical ...
7
votes
1answer
74 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
120 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
527 views

What is the current theory for the formation of the Earth's Moon?

Given that the Earth and Moon are often said in the literature to have very similar geochemistry, what is the current theory as to how the Earth's Moon formed?
7
votes
1answer
51 views

What are Trojan Asteroids and where are they located?

Asides from the main Asteroid Belt, there are Trojan Asteroids - what are these and where are they located?
7
votes
1answer
123 views

Where is Voyager 1 (or 2) going? In which direction?

Knowing it has exited the solar system, is it traveling in the direction of the center of the galaxy, away from it, orbiting it, or maybe even going perpendicular from the disk-shaped galaxy?
7
votes
2answers
109 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
66 views

Do planetary rings have geometric bounds?

Are there any bounds on where a planetary ring can form and maintain orbit relative to the planet? Do they have to be in a circular equatorial orbit? Is there a min or max altitude, say with respect ...
7
votes
2answers
182 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
1answer
337 views

How does moonrise/moonset azimuth vary with time?

In my tenacious attempts to observe moonrise (surprisingly difficult in a poor weather heavily urbanized hilly area with frequent bad smog, with busy work schedule and a bicycle) I was frequently ...
7
votes
1answer
70 views

What is the relevance of the Tropics and the Polar Circles? Do they Exist on other planets?

The middle line is the equator, the second and fourth line are the tropics, the first and fifth are the polar circles. What is the relevance of these bands on Earth? Do these exist on other ...
7
votes
2answers
106 views

What is the difference between asteroids, comets and meteors?

Some celestial objects seem to be referred to as asteroids, some as comets, and some as meteors or meteorites. What is the distinction between all of these different objects? Are any of them the ...
7
votes
1answer
113 views

What is the current accepted theory for Neptune's immense wind speed?

According to "Neptune: The Other Blue Planet in Our Solar System" (Choi, 2010), Neptune, despite its great distance from the sun, is the windiest planet in the solar system, with winds reaching ...
7
votes
1answer
66 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. ...
7
votes
1answer
133 views

What can be seen with a 4.5" telescope

I just got a 4.5" Newtonian reflector. The skies haven't been clear where I live lately so I've only been able to use it to see the moon and Jupiter (I was also able to see the Galilean moons). A ...
7
votes
1answer
75 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)?
7
votes
1answer
45 views

How can I measure the mass of eclipsing binary stars?

Is there any method to measure the mass of eclipsing binaries without using Doppler shift effect?
7
votes
1answer
236 views

How exactly is the Initial Mass Function (IMF) calculated?

The Initial Mass Function (IMF) is the empirical function which describes the initial masses of a population of stars. My questions are, 1) What are the various IMF's which are used? 2) For each, ...
7
votes
1answer
75 views

Timescale of ignition of a protostar?

What is the timescale of start of nuclear fusion as T Tauri type star transforms into a Main Sequence star? Wikipedia article on T Tauri type stars mentions: Their central temperatures are too ...
7
votes
1answer
184 views

What reason is there to doubt the existence of the hypothesised planet Tyche in the far distant solar system?

Please note, I do not necessarily believe in its existence, just after a scientific (hence, non-Wikipedia) reasoning to doubt the planet's existence, other than the "we would have seen it" argument. ...
7
votes
2answers
137 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
94 views

Is it safer to be near a star or a black hole?

If a star or black hole neared the solar system, which would do the least damage? For the sake of a good comparison, lets assume the candidate star is an "average" 5 solar mass star, and the black ...
7
votes
1answer
117 views

Do stars of a galaxy change their positions relatively to each other?

Complete astronomy noob over here who would be happy if he get a simple answer (and who is also aware that this may be not possible)... I've learned from a tv documentary that the stars at the edge ...
7
votes
1answer
117 views

If we “turned universe upside-down” and changed all matter to anti-matter instantly

...what would be the immediate consequences? Or putting it better, if (from big-bang or whathever), the universe were always made of what we call Anti-matter what would it be? The scientists of this ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Calculation of right ascension and declination

I am confused about this problem: If I see an object from Mount Teide (longitude is 16"30'E and latitude is 28"18'N) that passes the meridian (azimuth=0) at 5h (am) UTC, and I also know that the ...
7
votes
1answer
78 views

Have we observed any rogue/wandering stars?

Do we know (have we observed and cataloged) any rogue star, being not part of galaxy, but drifting somewhere in inter-galactic space? I know that determining if a star is a part of galaxy or not is a ...
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 - ...
7
votes
1answer
44 views

How close are we to having the technology to measure planetary obliquity for exoplanets?

As far as I can tell, we do not yet have the precision to even put reasonable bounds on an exoplanets obliquity, but wikipedia seems to indicate that this may be possible in the "near future." It ...

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