27
votes
5answers
717 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?
8
votes
3answers
252 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
244 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
195 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, ...
4
votes
4answers
380 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
284 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
594 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?
15
votes
1answer
196 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 ...
21
votes
6answers
404 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?
15
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
126 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
202 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
329 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
239 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
178 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
164 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
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 ...
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 ...
0
votes
2answers
125 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
92 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
147 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?
29
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 ...
31
votes
2answers
696 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
263 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
338 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? ...
18
votes
1answer
173 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
161 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
167 views

Why does a planet rotate and revolve?

Why do planets rotate and revolve in the universe?
3
votes
1answer
79 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
555 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
204 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, ...
9
votes
3answers
285 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
120 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
165 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
227 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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
49 views

What are the current accepted theories of the formation of the Uranian moon Miranda?

Miranda, a moon of Uranus is unique in that it has a very fractured surface Source: University of Oregon The surface is said to be jagged and fractured, with comparatively large disjointed cliffs ...
5
votes
1answer
36 views

Calculation of Horizontal Coordinates

Given a fixed coordinate location on Earth (i.e. a latitude and longitude), and a fixed equatorial coordinate location of a particular astronomical object in the sky (i.e. right ascension and ...
5
votes
2answers
137 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
121 views

Does our universe have to be embedded in a higher dimensional space?

I've heard that our universe may be open or closed. If it's closed it might have a toroid shape. If this is the case, would that imply that our 3 spatial dimensions have to be embedded in a higher ...
2
votes
2answers
170 views

What is the name of that which exists beyond the Universe?

"The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of existence" but that is more of a philosophical position. Empirically we know (or believe) that it is of finite size some believe it is expanding ...
1
vote
1answer
95 views

Please Guide me to buy my first Telescope [duplicate]

I am a beginner and I've planned to buy a telescope(Newtonian reflector)for viewing planets and deep sky objects. As far as I know the most important factor to get a brighter view is that the ...
12
votes
2answers
189 views

Does the Moon have any oxygen in its atmosphere?

Since the moon has gravity, it's almost impossible that there aren't some gasses trapped on the surface by the moon's gravity. Has any free-floating oxygen been found on the Moon? If so, in what ...
12
votes
1answer
232 views

What does it mean for a star to go nova or supernova? Can I safely observe these?

What does it mean for a star when people say it goes 'nova' or super nova, what are the differences? More importantly, can I safely observe these with an amateur telescope? I imagine they would be ...
12
votes
1answer
92 views

Why is the Sun's atmosphere (the corona) so hot?

The visible surface of the Sun is 6000 degrees Celsius but the gas in the solar corona is at least 1 million degrees. What heats the solar corona?
11
votes
1answer
105 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
100 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
143 views

Why did the Comet Shoemaker-Levy-9 fragments cause such large explosions on Jupiter?

In July 1994, the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 (D/1993 F2) tidally fragmented and these fragments collided into Jupiter, as per the image below. Image source The question is, what mechanisms resulted in ...
10
votes
2answers
131 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
92 views

What is there in the intergalactic space?

What bodies can be encountered way outside galaxies - far beyond the farthest edges of galaxies, in the deep space between them? Are there single, galaxy-less stars, giant clouds of gas more dense ...

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