31
votes
6answers
1k 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?
16
votes
4answers
494 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
312 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
2answers
425 views

Does matter accumulate just outside the event horizon of a black hole?

My understanding is that time slows and approaches stopping when approaching the event horizon of a black hole. I have seen this explained several places, including a brief explanation in the last ...
9
votes
3answers
408 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
321 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 ...
11
votes
7answers
792 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? ...
16
votes
1answer
399 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
322 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Is Sun a part of a binary system?

Does our Sun have a counterpart, i.e., is it a part of a binary-system? If so, how does the other star look like and where is it?
4
votes
4answers
583 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 ...
26
votes
6answers
920 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
5answers
11k views

What will happen to life on Earth when the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies collide?

It is said that the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies are coming close to each other with a speed of approximately 400000 km/hour. They will be together in the next 4 billion years. What will happen ...
10
votes
3answers
285 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
970 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?
13
votes
4answers
962 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?
11
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

How far is the Earth/Sun above/below the galactic plane, and is it heading toward/away from it?

How far is the Earth/Sun above/below the galactic plane, and is it heading toward/away from it? We know the Sun is orbiting the galactic center every 225 million years. But how far are we from the ...
2
votes
1answer
197 views

Spacetime curvature illustration accuracy

When a particle travels through spacetime, this is sometimes illustrated moving in flat grid with various depths. How accurate is this way of imagining gravity? Can the gravity well be infinitely ...
2
votes
2answers
152 views

Is it possible that the Sun has a binary partner (the Nemesis Theory) that has eluded detection?

I just recently learned about the theory that our Sun has a small companion star with a 26 million year orbit. This theory came about when it was realized that mass extinction events happened ...
-2
votes
1answer
65 views

One Universe or Multiverse? [closed]

I watched a program where four astrophysicists were debating this topic. I couldn't fully understand what they were saying but wanted to ask others' opinions on whether there is only one Universe or ...
13
votes
2answers
533 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
287 views

What is the accepted theory as to why Uranus' axis is tilted so severely?

The planet Uranus is another solar system anomaly, where according to the NASA profile has an axial tilt of 97.8 degrees, also considered to be retrograde. This NASA summary "Uranus" suggests the ...
10
votes
1answer
130 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
115 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
308 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
452 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?
3
votes
1answer
57 views

Red shifting galaxies

I am an amateur astronomer please correct if any of my understandings are wrong. We all know that from the Hubble's ultra deep field image the most distant galaxies which were created shortly after ...
3
votes
3answers
132 views

Strong force and metric expansion

If the expansion of the universe (the metric) continues (and perhaps is accelerating), in a very large but finite time the expansion of the metric will clash with the effects of the strong nuclear ...
1
vote
2answers
251 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.
-3
votes
1answer
140 views

Black Holes, how do they form?

Do black holes form by when the massive star dies and all the gravity falls in on itself, or something else. Please let me know, I'm really desperate!!
34
votes
4answers
4k views

How does the Earth move in the sky as seen from the Moon?

I just want to be sure I am visualizing this correctly, because it seems odd. The Moon is tidally locked to the Earth but there are wobbles to its motion due to libration. So from a point on the ...
20
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
683 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?
14
votes
3answers
558 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
383 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
523 views

Age of the universe and time dilation

Given our knowledge and the standard cosmological model, we estimate that the age of the universe is about 13.7 billion years old. How much sense does it make to talk about the age of the ...
6
votes
2answers
529 views

How deep and shaped is the depth of a black hole?

A common representation of a black hole is a black circle which if I'm correct, indicates its breadth. This representation depicts it as a 'plate', so a really small depth compared to its breadth. ...
5
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
155 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
267 views

How are the photos of the Milky Way taken?

We are inside the Milky Way, right? So, how are we able to take photos of the Milky Way?
4
votes
2answers
377 views

Telescope buying guide for a beginner in India

I am located in the southern part of India and am looking forward to buy a telescope to gaze up to look ay farther planets, moons in our solar system and take pictures. How should I go about getting a ...
3
votes
2answers
190 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
970 views

Can you see man-made lights on the dark side of the Earth from the surface of the moon with the naked eye?

This question is prompted from a comment on this answer: Could a person on the surface of the moon see man-made lights on the dark side of the Earth with the naked eye? If not, how much magnification ...
14
votes
3answers
517 views

Why do (most of) the planets rotate counterclockwise, i.e. the same way the Sun does?

Referring to the mechanisms explaining the solar system formation and to the initial rotation of the gaseous cloud that collapsed, I understand easily why the planets orbit the Sun the same way this ...
9
votes
1answer
159 views

How did scientists determine an estimate of the number of planets greater than Sedna's size to exist in the Inner Oort Cloud?

In the article, New Dwarf Planet Found at Solar System's Edge, Hints at Possible Faraway 'Planet X' (Wall, 2014) where they report on research and observations performed by astronomers that discovered ...
9
votes
5answers
218 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? ...
7
votes
2answers
1k 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?
7
votes
2answers
334 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 ...

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