30
votes
5answers
865 views

Why is only one side of the Moon visible from Earth?

Why do we only ever see the same side of the moon? If this is to do with gravity are there any variables which mean we might one day see more than we have before?
11
votes
5answers
305 views

What is in the center of the universe?

If the universe has formed & originated by a Big Bang Explosion, then there must be empty space left in the center of the explosion site, as all the matter is travelling at tremendous speeds away ...
11
votes
2answers
235 views

Space expansion in layman terms

So far I got to understand the expansion of space is not to be understood as stars drifting further apart through space. There's something more fundamental - e.g. you can't simply measure speed of it, ...
9
votes
3answers
298 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
427 views

Escaping a black hole

I often hear that nothing can escape a black hole because it's "escape velocity" is greater than c. If that is accurate, what about the following. I know that the following has a lot of most likely ...
0
votes
2answers
162 views

How can the universe be infinite?

I've heard from renowned astrophysicists that we don't yet know whether or not the Universe is infinite. How is that possible regarding the big bang theory is accepted (as they all do)? Are they ...
22
votes
6answers
510 views

How are black holes found?

Black holes have so much gravity that even light can't escape from them. If we can't see them, and the suck up all electromagnetic radiation, then how can we find them?
14
votes
3answers
401 views

Could someone explain RA/dec in simple terms?

The equatorial coordinate system isn't too complicated. However, for people new to this, it seems rather intimidating at first. Is there an easy way to explain it?
12
votes
4answers
656 views

Is the light we see from stars extremely old?

Our nearest star Proxima Centauri is 4.243 light years away from Earth. Does that mean we are seeing light that is 4.243 years old everyday?
16
votes
4answers
812 views

How can we tell that the Milky Way is a spiral galaxy?

From Earth, we can distinguish the type of another galaxy very easily simply by observing the shape, colour, and structure of the galaxy when we image it. But since we are located inside the Milky ...
15
votes
1answer
239 views

How distances are measured in the Solar System, in the Galaxy, and in the Universe?

Distances in our universe can be calculated in several ways: Stellar Parallax Standard Candles Redshift How are these methods linked, and how they are actually used to calculate distances are ...
13
votes
2answers
253 views

Is there a theoretical maximum size limit for a star?

Some stars are simply huge. Eventually, though, wouldn't there be simply too much pressure or mass for the star to sustain itself? Wouldn't it eventually collapse into a black hole? Is there a ...
7
votes
1answer
98 views

What are the current observational limits on the existence of Dyson spheres/swarms/rings?

A Dyson sphere/swarm/ring is a hypothetical structure an extra-terrestrial entity would construct to collect a large fraction of its host star's light, and would likely generate a fairly strong ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

What's the fastest moving object in the universe?

We know that nothing can have proper velocities larger than the speed of light in vacuum. But are there any objects in space that get close to it? Any comets, or other objects thrown by gravity or ...
12
votes
2answers
238 views

What physical features determine if a planet is a major, minor or dwarf planet?

Like many, when I was growing up, we always were taught, hence always learned that there were 9 planets. However, recently, decisions were made and all of a sudden there were 8 major planets and a ...
9
votes
2answers
158 views

Calculate Distance To Stars

I was just watching a lecture from Carl Sagan. He talked about figuring out the distance to the stars; it got me interested in learning more about the subject. As far as I know, the Inverse square ...
5
votes
1answer
302 views

Best telescope for the viewing of Nebulae, Stars and Planets

So, I am a 15 year old interested into astronomy. My father used to have a reflector telescope, but was never so serious about it that he could recommend me a good telescope. I am looking to buy a ...
16
votes
3answers
384 views

Why can't light escape from a black hole?

I've heard that light can't escape from a black hole. Can it? If not, why?
12
votes
3answers
292 views

Does a planet's mass or gravity affect the height of it's mountains?

According to this Wikipedia page, the top five highest mountains on Mars (and the highest on Venus) are all taller than Mount Everest (and Mauna Kea as measured from the ocean floor). Does a planet's ...
8
votes
5answers
174 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? ...
6
votes
2answers
165 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
163 views

Help in determining the features of an unusual, fictional star system

(Hope this is the right Stack-exchange site for this question) I'm working on a sci-fi RPG campaign, set on a very atypical location. Since this is a work of fiction, there's enough room for ...
1
vote
1answer
86 views

Why isn't the dark energy getting decreased?

AS the articles on the web suggest, Dark energy is the reason behind the expansion of universe. If so, why isn't it getting used up in doing so. And consequently, the rate of expansion should reduce! ...
11
votes
1answer
144 views

What is the current accepted theory as to why Venus has a slow retrograde rotation?

According to this NASA overview, the planet Venus is unique (amongst the major planets), Venus has a slow retrograde axial rotation, taking 243 Earth days to make one rotation (which is longer than ...
9
votes
3answers
282 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
2answers
113 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
305 views

Why is the solar system often shown as a 2D plane?

Whenever I have learned about the solar system I always see the orbits displayed as a virtually flat plane. Are all of the orbits in the solar system really like this? If so, why? It seems like a ...
4
votes
2answers
152 views

Is it possible that a ultra-large portion of the space we live in is already inside a black hole? How could we refute this?

Trying to wrap my head around some concepts involving the very large gravitational fields of black holes, and what the gravitational gradients look like on a cosmic scale. I'm familiar with the Great ...
3
votes
3answers
282 views

Does the universe have an edge?

I've heard the universe is just an empty cavity. Does the universe have any edge or stop or is it just an infinite empty cavity?
0
votes
2answers
145 views

What causes Earth's gravity? [closed]

Why Earth is like a magnet? how can earth attract any object irrespective of what it is made of? What is the reason behind Celestial Body's gravity? i.e Sun,Jupiter,Moon etc.
0
votes
3answers
126 views

How fast is the universe expanding?

I've hear several theories stating that the universe is expanding faster than the speed of light, others claim that the universe expands faster the further away you measure it. Which of this is ...
0
votes
2answers
154 views

What happened before the big bang? [duplicate]

Was there space before big bang? Or who knows there might be different heavenly bodies that we might not perceive?
30
votes
4answers
5k views

Is the moon only 60 pixels?

In doing research on vision, I have learned that "20/20" vision corresponds to a visual acuity of being able to resolve details 1 arcminute in size, that most people have around 20/15 vision, and that ...
38
votes
3answers
927 views

Does the Sun rotate?

The planets rotate as an after effect of their creation, the dust clouds that compressed span as they did so and the inertia has kept it rotating ever since. It's fairly easy to prove that planetary ...
17
votes
2answers
306 views

What is a parsec and how is it measured?

Astronomical units of measurement are mostly pretty straight-forward: Astronomical Units refer to the mean Earth-Sun distance (~150 million km or 93 million miles) Light years are the distance light ...
11
votes
1answer
153 views

How stable are Lissajous orbits?

Now that the Gaia Space Telescope is on it's way to the Sun-Earth L2 Lagrangian point (SEL2), I start wondering about the stability of Gaia's orbit there. The Planck Telescope is already there, as was ...
10
votes
5answers
384 views

Do we know the exact spot where big bang took place?

If you rewind the universe back 14,7 billion years, all matter were in one spot, and then started expanding. Do we know where this is in reference to our own solar system? And is there anything there? ...
3
votes
1answer
102 views

Which type of telescope should I make?

I am not very much interested in observational physics but I just like to look at the night sky. It gives me a lot of inspiration. So, i was thinking about making a telescope for basic observations. I ...
19
votes
1answer
197 views

How could a hobbyist astronomer determine apparent magnitude of a star?

Apparent magnitude is a rather complex way to determine the brightness of a star. Quoting the introduction text from the linked to Wikipedia page: The apparent magnitude (m) of a celestial body is ...
16
votes
1answer
232 views

What causes a star to become a pulsar?

What processes does a star undergo to become a pulsar? Does it take a very specific star with a certain set of qualities such as "Just the right mass, diameter, and composition," or is it a freak ...
8
votes
1answer
189 views

Why does a planet rotate and revolve?

Why do planets rotate and revolve in the universe?
5
votes
3answers
218 views

What is a singularity? What is at the center of a black hole? Specifically regarding space-time

So because I can only really think of space-time in 2-dimensions like a sheet of something, my assumptions might be wrong to begin with. I was watching a YouTube video on black-holes and there was a ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Do all stars have an oort cloud or is it a rare occurance?

Do all stars have an oort cloud like ours that will be filled with comets and other objects? If not, why are they not around every star?
12
votes
1answer
252 views

Could any known, living organisms on Earth survive on Mars?

No life has been discovered outside of Earth (yet?), but do we know if anything that would be considered "living" on Earth could conquer Mars? (or maybe Venus?) With the Mars One project on the way, ...
10
votes
3answers
342 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
191 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

How can I collimate a dobsonian telescope with a laser collimator?

I've had a dobsonian telescope for a while now, but I've never been able to collimate it. I thought I had it collimated once, but when I looked through it the star didn't look right, it looked kind ...
9
votes
2answers
182 views

How many galaxies have been discovered?

I know Andromeda is our nearest galaxy. But how many known galaxies have been discovered and what are they?
8
votes
1answer
297 views

Why do the planets in our solar system orbit in the same plane?

(Yes I'm excluding Pluto from this the same way it was excluded for not being a planet) Observing the planets orbit of the Sun they all seem relatively planar and roughly all orbit along the same ...
7
votes
3answers
274 views

Is the Jupiter-Sun system considered a binary system of some type?

Since Jupiter is very massive, it is the only planet (in our solar system) that has a center of mass with the Sun that lies outside the volume of the Sun. (Source) If Jupiter was a star, they would ...

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