7
votes
1answer
87 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
93 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
54 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
479 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
49 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
117 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
106 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
60 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
160 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
285 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
64 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
95 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
95 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
122 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
106 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
74 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
193 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
71 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
172 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
134 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
156 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
86 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
111 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
904 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
70 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
38 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
97 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
38 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
42 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
49 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
88 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
388 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
905 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
447 views

Why can we sometimes see the moon during the day?

At some points in the year, the moon at my location can be clearly visible during the day. Why is this? If it is any help, I live in Alberta, Canada.
6
votes
2answers
129 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
400 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
88 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
186 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
115 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
71 views

Can protoplanetary disks form main-sequence stars?

As has been pointed out by @Envite in the context of a more general discussion (see Generalised planets?), there seems to be a moderate possibility for protoplanetary discs forming main-sequence stars ...
6
votes
2answers
137 views

Why don't Neutron Stars form event horizon?

Trying to compare density of Black Holes and Neutron Stars I came up with the following: A typical neutron star has a mass between about 1.4 and 3.2 solar masses1[3] (see Chandrasekhar Limit), ...
6
votes
2answers
75 views

Does the Moon Have Enough Water for Robert Zubrin's Mars settlement Plan To Work?

In Robert Zubrin's "The Case for Mars" he outlines a plan to settle Mars by(among other things) finding water and using electrolysis to break up water into Hydrogen and Oxygen. This provides fuel for ...
6
votes
1answer
71 views

What is the current routine of modern astronomy? [closed]

With about all visible stars catalogued, measured and photographed it seems that chapter is closed. I realize currently while amateur astronomy is big on cataloguing all asteroids in the Solar System, ...
6
votes
2answers
68 views

What is the current estimation for how much time the Sun will function properly?

Eventually, the Sun will run out of fuel, go dark, and other bad things will happen. About how much long is it predicted that we will have a sun functioning as it is currently?
6
votes
2answers
257 views

How do we know that the speed of the influence of gravity is instant?

When I was in college, I posed to my astronomy professor a thought experiment that had been puzzling my mind for some time: "If the sun magically disappeared, instantly, along with all its influences, ...

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