New answers tagged fundamental-astronomy
There is a Dantes Standardized Subjet Test (DSST) in astronomy. I have no idea if and how widely colleges give credit for these exams. Typically, you will start with physics and choose to specialize in astronomy. Therefore, most standardized exams are for physics which may have a handful of astronomy questions.
"The worldwide community of professional astronomers is only about 10,000; most are located in the us (with about 1,000 in the UK and 250 in Australia)." From So You Want to Be an Astronomer by Duncan Forbes. Another source stated that the number of professional astronomers is about the size of a small town.
All matter radiates (except if it's at absolute zero temperature), regardless of its composition (you got that of Mercury badly wrong). The most important form of radiation is the black-body radiation which only depends on the temperature of the material, but line emission and absorption may also be important (but depends on the composition and ionisation ...
Stars' light is produced by thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen, helium and other elements at their nucleus. This processes are impossible in planets since you need high pressures and temperatures >10,000 k
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