7
votes
1answer
46 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
221 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
128 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
97 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
2answers
113 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
55 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
52 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
72 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
1answer
508 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
121 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
107 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
64 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
174 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
313 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
67 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
103 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
105 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
60 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
128 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
2answers
111 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 ...
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
227 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
72 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
180 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
2answers
163 views

Are there a lot of collisions between stars in the core of the galaxy?

I'm reading on Wikipedia about Halo Stars that orbit the center of the galaxy at a high inclination away from the plane of the Milky Way. It seems that at some point, these stars must dive back into ...
7
votes
1answer
91 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
109 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
115 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
76 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
42 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
99 views

Timeline of falling into a blackhole

For some "average sized" black hole, how long would it take for a distant (spacesuit-wearing!) astronaut to: be able to see the gravitational lensing with the naked eye clearly feel the gravity ...
7
votes
1answer
46 views

Dealing with damp and dew whilst stargazing at night or in the early morning

Sometimes when using my telescope late at night or early in the morning, especially in the more humid of seasons, I notice i sometimes get dew buildup on the lenses. How can I minimize damp buildup ...
7
votes
1answer
40 views

Does the Reflection Method for Looking at the Sun Work For Refractors?

I own a newtonian reflector and occasionally use it (using the reflection method with paper) for looking at the sun. I happen to also own a refractor, but I'm not exactly sure if the reflection method ...
7
votes
1answer
80 views

How many galaxies disappear beyond the Hubble Bubble horizon every year now?

The accelerating expansion of space means that the space between us and far away galaxies expands faster than light can travel through space. There is a horizon of possible observation beyond which ...
7
votes
1answer
51 views

How can I clean my lenses without causing scratching or damages to the lens surface?

Sometimes you can be trying to observe very faint or very small objects in the sky and it wouldn't pay to have these obscured or marred by a scratch or dust on the lenses. I keep to good practices ...
7
votes
1answer
62 views

How Does Cosmology Constrain the Number of Neutrino Species?

I've asked this question already on the Physics SE, but I felt it would be worth posting here as well. I know that based upon theories of structure formation cosmologists can constrain the sum of the ...
7
votes
0answers
94 views

Dark Flow: statistical limits on existence

Dark Flow has been thrown around as a term a lot lately, especially with the latest Planck results. New Scientist reported last year that it was now statistically improbable, but the paper by Atrio ...
6
votes
3answers
396 views

When we see half moon, why is it always the lower half?

Even if we see a crescent moon, always the lower circumference is visible. Why we never see this? PS: this image is vertically inverted.
6
votes
2answers
921 views

Can two comets travel together as one?

If two comets come together in space, will they bounce apart, merge into a single body, or could they travel together through space, either touching or orbiting a shared center of gravity?
6
votes
2answers
139 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
411 views

Was the Milky Way ever a quasar?

Is there any evidence that the Milky Way could have been a quasar in it's early history? Is it thought that most galaxies come from quasars?
6
votes
2answers
90 views

If nothing travels at the speed of light, except light, how can a black hole also pull light into itself?

Is it because it has super massive gravity and energy? Or is it some sort of an anti-light component in it because it used to be a star?
6
votes
2answers
224 views

Why don't we see the galaxy center?

When we look at the sky, and see the Milky Way, we mainly see a band, with no real center. On a more accurate picture we can guess the center of the galaxy (see this picture), but we still don't see ...
6
votes
2answers
125 views

Can the supernova remnant SN 1572 be observed by amateur astronomers?

The SN 1572 remnant, also called Tycho's supernova remnant, is beautiful in X-ray images. It seems to be rather dim in visible light. Are there any amateur photographs of this object? How long are the ...

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