All Questions

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Evidence behind Giant Impact hypthesis

The giant impact hypothesis is a theory to explain how the moon was formed. What evidence is there that supports the theory and led us to find the current theory?
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Do extraterrestrial landscapes or planets count as nature?

If I am talking about the surface of Mars, is this still nature, comparable to uninhabited places on earth, or does nature exclusively describe not man-made things on earth. I am asking this ...
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Is it accurate to say that we have a gravitational attraction towards all objects in the known universe?

Its probably small, but is there a theoretical gravitational attraction between all objects in the universe? Light can move pretty far, so does that mean gravity can as well, and is the gravity ...
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Mass of sun's core

It is estimated that the sun's core is about 1/5 of the radius of the sun (from Wikipedia). I know that the density of the plasma increases substantially the near the center, and that the volume of ...
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How to compute satellite coordinates (lat,long) given antenna's coordinates, angles and satellite height

Given an Earth station (antenna) coordinates (in lat,long) ant its Elevation (El) and Azimuth (Az), how to compute the satellite coordinates (lat,long), known its height? For simplification purposes, ...
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Is Mars expected to go through the tail of Comet Siding?

This question will likely be answered "in retrospect" in about 8 days. So it's a great opportunity to "lay it out there" and then let reality prove you right/wrong. On the 19th of October, Comet ...
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Appropriate battery for overnight viewing to drive telescope and GOTO?

I have a Plettstone 18" Dobsonian telescope with GOTO and clock drive that runs off a 12 volt cigarette lighter adapter. What is an appropriate battery to use to run this overnight while viewing all ...
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How are stellar elemental abundances quoted?

Close to the bottom of page 4 of this article (marked as page 164 in the upper left corner) states Values are given in the logarithmic scale usually adopted by astronomers, A$_{e\ell}$ = log ...
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What would be the dynamics of a double-planet system, similar to Earth / Moon, but with both bodies nearly Earth-sized?

Researching a sci-fi story involving a "twin-planet" system. Is such an arrangement (however unlikely) physically possible? And if so, must they be tidally locked with each other, similar to the moon, ...
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Is there light on the surface of Venus?

A simple question: is there light on the surface of Venus?
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How did the Mars satellites “take cover” from the recent comet flyby?

After comet Sliding Spring's Oct. 19, 2014 close flyby of Mars, NASA reports that All three NASA orbiters around Mars confirmed their healthy status Sunday after each took shelter behind Mars ...
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What is the angular diameter of Earth as seen from the Moon?

...today I must have left my brain home. I know it's a simple calculation but I keep failing simplest calculations today. What is the angular diameter of Earth as seen from the surface of the Moon?
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Do we get any benefit from being in a galaxy?

If our solar system were to somehow be created outside of a galaxy as a single star in the vast nothingness between galaxies, would life on Earth change any? Does being a member of a galaxy actually ...
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If we count Avogadro's Number of stars that are closest to Earth, how big that space would be?

I posted this as a question to Scientific Imagination (Area 51 proposal) a while ago. And it was suggested that this question "is perfectly acceptable on Astronomy SE", since "it's about stellar ...
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Free neutrons and stellar nucleosynthesis

Both the R-process and the S-process of stellar nucleosynthesis rely on absorbing 1 (S) or more (R) neutrons. Where do they come from? I thought there are no free neutrons in stars. (Also the ...
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What will happen to life on Earth when Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies collide?

It is said that, Andromeda and Milky way galaxies are coming close to each other with the speed of approx $400000 \ km/hours$. They will be together in the next $4 \ billion years$. What will ...
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Where can I find a catalog of all stars in the Milky Way?

Is there a catalog of all known stars or brightest stars in our galaxy? Preferably with some sort of galactic coordinates instead of just night sky coordinates (right ascension, etc.) I'm trying to ...
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Is early life required for life?

I was watching the new Cosmos and Neil DeGrasse Tyson said something that made me go hmmm... He mentioned that the only reason that the Earth did not experience the runaway greenhouse effect like ...
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What is the correct ratio of Newtonian to General Relativistic gravitational effects for Sun + single planet orbital system

For a hypothetical orbital system (Sun + single planet) the Newtonian model and the General Relativity (GR) model produce different expressions for the gravitational effect of the Sun on the planet. ...
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How near to Earth do comets pass?

Siding Spring now passes about 10 Earth diameters away from Mars. What are the estimates of how often comets fly by Earth at different distances? Are the distances to some famous historical comets ...
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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)?
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Diameter of any galaxy

I've been trying to figure out how to find the diameter in kpc of any galaxy given that one knows the distance to it in Mpc (d) and also the angular diameter/size (A) in arcsec. I had a formula before ...
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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?
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Is there enough hydrogen left after a star dies so another star will have enough to light up?

A star consumes quite a lot of hydrogen in its life, and is pretty much "vacuuming" everything in its vicinity. After it dies (eventually by supernova which will spread all its composition over light ...
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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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My name is Chris, I am a junior and I'm taking an Astronomy class in my high school. For a homework assignment, I have to explain how the Sun would move across the sky from September 1st through ...
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Star class according to initial mass

Studying the stars classes for my homework (school) i learned that stars are classified by the spectral types (Harvard) and luminosity class (MKK) .. So the sun is a star class ...
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What is the bluest narrow band filter mounted on ground based telescopes?

If we want to check a QSO's lyman alpha narrow band image, could a ground based telescope do that? I mean under the circumstance that its lyman alpha shifts to 3300A.
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Time-density and time-temperature functions of the Universe since the Big Bang

I am looking for these... functions. I want to be able to say, "at a 1873. second there were around 54230000000 K temperature and 0.00435 kg/m^3 density". On the net I could find only tables or ...
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How much would you weigh if Earth stopped orbiting the Sun?

I have a curious question. The reason why astronauts are weightless in space is because they are orbiting Earth. If they suddenly stopped orbiting they would fall directly into Earth. Earth is doing ...
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Evolution of Life

Since life evolved here on Earth does that mean that life had to have existed before or in the future elsewhere in the Universe or could it be a one time only freak accident ?
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Planets and Pluto? Neptune?

If one of the rules to be a planet is that it needs to clear ALL objects from their orbit, does this also make Neptune a non-planet? Since it has thus far failed to clear Pluto (and based on an answer ...
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Could we actually freeze a star?

I read an article recently that said NASA has discovered a brown dwarf that has frozen. Given we had the technology, resources, and supplies, could we actually freeze a star and stop it from burning ...
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How will they mine asteroids? [migrated]

Say we find an asteroid that is rich in ores and we would like to mine that asteroid. How could this be done? The gravity on an asteroid is so minimal that pushing a drill into the asteroid would ...
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What is the difference between Sphere of Influence and Hill sphere?

Wikipedia's definition of Hill sphere is: An astronomical body's Hill sphere is the region in which it dominates the attraction of satellites. To be retained by a planet, a moon must have an orbit ...
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why do we look at dark energy as an energy?

We call dark matter dark matter, because of the way it acts on galaxies, but why do we look at dark energy as an energy? With $E = m c^2$, can't dark energy be mass as well? Why dont we look at dark ...
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How can a planet not rotate at all and yet have 1 year that is day and 1 year that is night?

A mercury day if you consider its solar day is 2 mercury years. Now if you consider just 1 half of mercury, in 1 of those years it is facing towards the sun and in another one of those years it is ...
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what is a MIA satellite

I came across this sentence in a magazine: We sit outside the Lorne Community Hall, Victoria, watching the MIA satellite overhead. I wonder if the author is talking about an artificial ...
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Are epicycles and mean Earth/Sun actually useful astrophysical concepts?

Copernicus put the Sun in the center of the Solar system. This turns the Moon's orbit into an epicycle around Earth orbit. And the Jovian moons (later discovered) have orbits which are epicycles ...
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Time period in which a planet rotates

I notice that Wikipedia give two contradictory terms for the time period in which a planet rotates in relation to an infinitely-distant object. In one place this is called a "sidereal day" and in ...
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Could dark matter be considered a medium?

Long ago, it was theorized that light had to travel through a medium, until the particle/wave duality of light was discovered. Then it changed to the idea that light can travel through the vacuum of ...
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What happens if gravity shuts down for only one second?

Question has it all.What happens if total gravitational force in the universe shuts down for only one second?
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Mapping selenographic coordinates onto a sphere

I have a 3D rendering of the moon, which is represented as a sphere with a radius of N pixels. I also have selenographic coordinates. For example, the coordinates of the Apollo 11 landing site are ...
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In a star, the fact that not all the hydrogen is used up, not all the helium is used up etc. is a little counterintuitive. Shouldn't it be that a star looses the hydrogen layer passively, in other ...
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Why objects are uniquely defined by their right ascention and declination?

I've just started studiyng Astronomy. I understood how I would measure Right Ascention and Declination: for the first one I'd trace an Hour cirlce to the Celestial Equator, and then, compute the ...
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A question about stellar magnitude and the pogson's equation

Well surely the eye has different sensitivity to various wavelengths... will the pogson's equation not be affected if say I compare Betelgeuse and Rigel( both having a marked difference in spectral ...
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Binary star not exceeding Roche Lobe?

Is it possible that a binary star doesn't exceed its Roche lobe and so when the second star becomes a red giant, instead of accreting some of its plasma onto the white dwarf that it becomes a white ...
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When will all eight planets in our solar system align?

Ignoring expansion of the universe, entropy, decaying orbits, and interference from any bodies colliding with or otherwise interfering with their orbits, will the eight planets known planets in our ...