All Questions

312 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 ...
838 views

Is it Possible for Planetary Bodies To Exist In Close Proximity Without Adverse Effects?

There are several sci-fi movies where planetary bodies are shown in the sky in order to indicate that the characters are on an alien planet. A good example is in Predators (2010): Is it actually ...
352 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 ...
264 views

Can any information leave a black hole?

Referring to this question, is there any information that can leave black holes? Are they causing a permanent information loss in our universe?
805 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 ...
320 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 ...
366 views

If the moon wasn't receding from Earth, what would be the impact on the weather and tides?

Moon is slowly receding from Earth, which means that after its formation it was much closer to the Earth than now. How would weather look like if it wasn't receding at it would be now as close as at ...
604 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 ...
422 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 ...
192 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 ...
121 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 ...
422 views

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 ...
111 views

Why do we believe that the super massive black holes at the centers of two merging galaxies would themselves merge?

When listening to podcasts or watching youtube videos of astronomers discussing galaxy mergers, I often hear talk about how the super massive black holes at their centers will themselves merge during ...
108 views

Are any Pluto-sized objects remaining to be discovered in the Kuiper Belt?

An object approximately the same size as Pluto, Eris, was discovered only 8 years ago (in 2005). Are there any Pluto-sized objects remaining to be discovered, and if so, how far away from the Sun ...
236 views

Statistics of elements abundance in exoplanets

Recently, I encountered the concept of carbon planets - planets, which would be, unlike the Earth, formed mostly by carbon, instead of oxygen, silicon and magnesium. (I am not counting iron, which is ...
491 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 ...
407 views

What do we know about the lifecycle of the Milky Way (or any other spiral galaxy)?

I know that the Milky Way will collide with Andromeda in the distant future but based on what we know so far there is a supermassive black hole in the center of each galaxy and thus the Milky Way will ...
271 views

What is the current accepted theory as to why Mercury, despite its size, has a similar density to Earth?

According to the NASA web page overview about Mercury, despite the planet being just a bit larger than our moon, it's density is about 98.4% of Earth's. This high density suggests a comparatively ...
176 views

How do stellar temperatures vary?

The temperature of the surface of the Sun (photosphere) is between 4500° - 6000° Kelvin. Inside the core, it's around 15.7 million degrees Kelvin. In other types of stars (neutron stars, white ...
129 views

What percent of planets are in the position that they could be viewed edge-on from Earth? (and thus able to undergo transits)

Star number 12644769 from the Kepler Input Catalog was identified as an eclipsing binary with a 41-day period, from the detection of its mutual eclipses (9). Eclipses occur because the orbital ...
119 views

Mechanisms of binary/multiple star formation

What are mechanisms of binary/multiple star formation in different mass ranges (low, intermediate and high stellar masses)?
282 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 ...
161 views

Which came first: black holes or galaxies?

In other terms, did galaxies grow around black holes at their center?
180 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 ...
173 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 ...
198 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 ...
133 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 ...
360 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 ...
230 views

How has the Earth's orbit changed over hundreds of millions or billion of years?

First, I know that modeling orbital mechanics of 8 planets is hard, but there are some theories out there, for example, Jupiter is thought to have moved in towards the sun then started moving away. ...
257 views

Can there be an object with planetary discriminant between Ceres and Neptune?

The planetary discriminant is a measure of how dominant a body is within its region of the solar system. For (true) planets, it is $>10000$ and for dwarf planets it is $<1$. (See this answer to "...
155 views

What is the current accepted theory as to why Titan has retained its atmosphere?

Titan (moon of Saturn) is unique in that it possesses a very thick atmosphere. However, Titan is certainly is not the largest of the moons - Ganymede being larger. What is the current accepted ...
114 views

Subterranean Oceans On Other Planets/Planetoids: How Do Astronomers Deduce This

Recently I have been looking into planetoids in our asteroid belt and I have found one that caught my interest, Ceres. One of the main points that was said about it was that it had a subterranean ...
291 views

How can astronomers determine the difference between “hydrostatic equilibrium” and “just happens to be spherical”?

This is relevant for the definition of a dwarf planet. I presume the answer will be, well, if we can tell the mass of the body and guess the material. I don't find this very satisfactory because (1)...
3k views

What if Earth and Moon revolved around each other like Pluto and Charon?

What would be different for us if Earth and Moon revolved around each other like Pluto and Charon do?
2k views

How can we avoid needing a leap year/second?

Given the Earth's current speed around the sun and current rate & axis of rotation, what is the best way to keep time to avoid a leap year? How many hours should we have in the day and days in a ...
612 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 ...
2k views

Why can't our Sun be a binary with Jupiter as a T or Y dwarf?

I just learned about Brown Dwarfs, they are "failed" stars, they narrowly missed the stellar mass mark. I learned that Y Dwarfs have temperature as low as 80 Fahrenheit (The first one found by WISE ...
3k 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 ...
854 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 ...
479 views

What will a lunar eclipse look like from moon?

What will a lunar eclipse look like from moon? Will earth become a completely dark circle?
731 views

Is it a coincidence that both the sun and moon look of same size from earth?

The sun is huge when compared to moon. Despite the huge difference in their size and distance from earth, Is it purely coincidental that they both look almost the same from earth?
4k views

What would the effects be on Earth if Jupiter was turned into a star?

In Clarke's book 2010, the monolith and its brethren turned Jupiter into the small star nicknamed Lucifer. Ignoring the reality that we won't have any magical ...
2k views

Is it possible to witness a star's death?

Given that the stars' distances to Earth are measured in light-years (for example, Sirius is 8.6 light-years away from Earth), what we are seeing as Sirius now is actually its state 8.6 years ago, ...
196 views

What limits the usable focal length of telescopes currently?

What barriers - of technology, physics and possibly economy (things that would be possible technologically but are simply too expensive) sets the upper bound on quality of telescopes for observation ...
687 views

Layout of the universe

I've been working on a space game in my spare time, and lately I've been thinking on how to lay out the universe. Though I've searched around and found it hard to get a good view of what the universe ...
688 views

Can impact craters on the moon act like giant radio telescopes?

Could large craters on the moon be used as reflective lenses for radio signals? Acting like a large radio telescope reflecting radio waves to a satellite positioned over the crater.
285 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?
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 (07.11....