3
votes
1answer
50 views

Is it conceivable that the presence of chlorophyll (or similar) could be distinguishable from other chemicals on an exoplanet?

If an Earth-like exoplanet had a sufficiently extensive plant biosphere (i.e large forests, aquatic algal mats etc), is it at all conceivable that scientists could spectroscopically detect the ...
2
votes
1answer
60 views

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?
6
votes
1answer
95 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

Viewing a solar eclipse through a leafy tree

Viewing my Facebook feed today, my local news station posted regarding a solar eclipse taking place today: Note the line about using a leafy tree as a filter: Scientists say NOT to directly ...
1
vote
1answer
37 views

What is the ratio of “real” stars in the sky?

When you look at the sky without any utilities like binocular or telescope, what is the rough ratio of "real" stars to other objects like planets, the moon, asteroids, satellites? 90% stars - 10 % ...
1
vote
1answer
283 views

In 2016, the summer solstice will coincide with a full moon. How often does this happen?

I found that the solstices work on a 400 year cycle based on this. I can't find anything similar for the lunar cycle. Is there a formula I can use to calculate the date of the full moon?
4
votes
2answers
141 views

Statistically, what would the average distance of the closest black hole be?

The closest confirmed black hole is several thousand light years away from earth. Our galaxy has about 100 billion stars. I didn't find any reliable information on the black hole count of ratio versus ...
0
votes
1answer
19 views

Declination and Ascension - the Sun and Andromeda

If Andromeda is overhead at midnight, what is the right ascension of the sun? (andromeda is ar RA =1hr, Dec = +40). I thought I understood what Dec and RA were, but I can't think of how to start this ...
1
vote
2answers
51 views

Is there a standard mapping of symbols to terms for celestial and orbital mechanics

Is there a standard mapping of symbols to terms for celestial and orbital mechanics (and physics in general)? For example here are some ambiguities Angular Momentum: L, H, J, $\Gamma$, Orbital ...
1
vote
1answer
27 views

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 ...
0
votes
3answers
66 views

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 ...
1
vote
3answers
26 views

Does naked eye miss a lot between local stars and distant milkiness?

When I look at the night sky I seem to resolve points which are local stars and milkiness at further regions of the galaxy. But what is between? I think there must be a lot of stars which are too ...
3
votes
1answer
143 views

Pictures of a curious astronomical phenomenon

In a recent holiday, a friend made the following picture. It contains a curious green "thing" in the nightsky. The picture was made in Ladakh, India, 6weeks ago. The "thing" only appeared in one of ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

Is there a general term for epicycles, deferents, and eccentrics in Ptolemaic astronomy?

According to Ptolemy's (c. 150 CE) account of the motions of planets, planets moved in circular paths ("epicycles") around center points that in turn moved around the center of the earth along a path ...
0
votes
2answers
52 views

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?
0
votes
2answers
33 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

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 ...
2
votes
0answers
14 views

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, ...
2
votes
2answers
62 views

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 ...
1
vote
3answers
48 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
92 views

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, ...
2
votes
1answer
30 views

Is there light on the surface of Venus?

A simple question: is there light on the surface of Venus?
4
votes
2answers
56 views

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 ...
8
votes
1answer
129 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
37 views

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 ...
10
votes
6answers
5k views

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 ...
3
votes
4answers
153 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
72 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
98 views

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. ...
0
votes
3answers
34 views

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 ...
9
votes
2answers
117 views

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)?
3
votes
2answers
175 views

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 ...
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?
1
vote
2answers
103 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
396 views

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, ...
0
votes
4answers
115 views

Question about the Sun's Motion

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
41 views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
111 views

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.
0
votes
1answer
60 views

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 ...
2
votes
3answers
107 views

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 ...
2
votes
5answers
92 views

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 ?
5
votes
2answers
108 views

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 ...
-3
votes
2answers
85 views

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 ...
0
votes
0answers
6 views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
115 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
43 views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
105 views

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 ...
0
votes
1answer
45 views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
41 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
69 views

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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