1
vote
3answers
699 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
987 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 ...
40
votes
6answers
3k 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?
15
votes
6answers
15k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
5k 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?
3
votes
2answers
609 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
385 views

Cancelling out earth rotation speed, Altazimuth mount

I have a Dobsonian telescope. It is using Altazimuth mount. Basic idea of using it is to target the object by moving telescope vertical axis perpendicular to the ground, and an elevation axis that ...
10
votes
1answer
1k 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
1answer
274 views

Collision of 2 black holes

There is a large number of visible Supernovas. Each week - about a 20 Supernovas Type 1a around the Universe. Is there collisions of Black Holes? What is this collision called? E.g. 2 black holes ...
11
votes
7answers
1k 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? ...
8
votes
3answers
377 views

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 ...
14
votes
2answers
1k 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
3answers
895 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 ...
30
votes
6answers
1k 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?
11
votes
3answers
564 views

Why are orbits elliptical instead of circular?

Why do planets rotate around a star in a specific elliptical orbit with the star at one of it's foci? Why isn't the orbit a circle?
15
votes
2answers
630 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
489 views

Are we made of the stuff of one star or more stars?

[T]his coincidence enabled stars in the late stages of their lives to turn helium into carbon, oxygen and most of the other atoms that you and I are made of. [...] [W]e're made of star stuff. Max ...
18
votes
1answer
761 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 ...
17
votes
1answer
582 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
413 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, ...
10
votes
3answers
553 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
315 views

Do parallel universes exist?

Do other universes like ours exist? If they exist, how do we know that they exist when we have even not seen the ends of our own universe?
15
votes
1answer
5k views

Is the moon moving further away from Earth and closer to the Sun? Why?

According to The NASA Moon Facts page: The moon is actually moving away from earth at a rate of 1.5 inches per year. Why is the moon moving further away from the Earth? Is this a result of the ...
11
votes
1answer
194 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
893 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the minimum mass required so that objects become spherical due to its own gravity?

Is this minimum mass known? or maybe, is it given in terms of density? If so, how much density is the minimum to have an spherical object due to its own gravity?
7
votes
2answers
80 views

Would Adaptive Optics be Useful in Radio Astronomy?

This Question and Answer got me thinking. If atmospheric seeing at visible wavelengths is the result of refractive index inhomogeneity, would it also be a similar problem for mm to cm wavelengths? ...
6
votes
2answers
427 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
269 views

What do gravitational waves allow us to understand?

Before reading this question, you should read this paper. From what I understood, we managed to detect gravitational waves for the first time. Is this discovery going to help us understand ...
27
votes
4answers
5k 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 Way,...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

Pluto's orbit overlaps Neptune's, does this mean Pluto will hit Neptune sometime?

We know that the orbits of Pluto and Neptune overlap. This means that pluto sometimes crosses the orbit of Neptune; will Pluto hit Neptune in any circumstance?
11
votes
3answers
414 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 ...
34
votes
5answers
5k views

9th planet location?

I've seen a number of news reports indicating there is likely a 9th planet in our Solar System, something with an orbital period of between 10k-20k years, that is 10 times Earth's mass. I haven't seen ...
8
votes
5answers
983 views

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 ...
20
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
3k 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?
12
votes
2answers
494 views

Why does a planet rotate and revolve?

Why do planets rotate and revolve in the universe?
10
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
723 views

how far away could we detect that earth has life?

My guess is that life bearing planets are too far apart to be detected. I think we can only find the ones within a sphere around our planet that is 100s of light years in diameter but I suspect life ...
7
votes
2answers
356 views

How do moons get captured?

[Apologies if this is a duplicate: I feel it ought to be, but my searches have failed]. A moon-sized object is running loose in the Solar System, perhaps after a planetary collision. As it approaches ...
5
votes
1answer
240 views

Are there any Stars we know don't have planets?

We have been looking for planets around other stars for a while (see related Are there any other Earth-like planets in the universe? ) and we are finding lots of planets, some of them are Earth like ...
3
votes
1answer
355 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 ...
26
votes
2answers
3k 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?
19
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
630 views

Why is the Moon receding from the Earth due to tides? Is this typical for other moons?

After reading the Q&A Is the moon moving further away from Earth and closer to the Sun? Why? about the tides transferring energy to the Moon and pushing it from Earth, I have a question: How is ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

How can I calculate moon phase and height?

How could I know what phase the moon is in when it's high in the sky during sunrise? How could I tell in general what its height in the sky will be at any given time?
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What causes a neutron star to become a pulsar?

Leading on from this pulsar question, what criteria/processes make neutron stars become pulsars, do all neutron stars become pulsars?
6
votes
3answers
472 views

Aren't there more naked-eye-visible stars in the Milky Way plane?

Most stars which are visible to the naked eye are within 1,000 light years. The Sun is inside the Orion arm which has a diameter of about 3,500 light years. Thus, all stars (with very few exceptions) ...

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