Questions tagged [astrophysics]

Questions involving the physics of the universe, especially the nature of astronomical objects, energy fields, and/or regions, rather than their positions or motions in space.

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13
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2answers
1k 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
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2answers
262 views

Is there another explanation, apart from the doppler effect, for the redshift observed in distant galaxies?

On episode 10 of the original Cosmos TV series, Carl Sagan mentions that some scientist don't agree that the redshift observed in distant galaxies is evidence of the big bang, stating that probably ...
5
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4answers
369 views

How fast is the universe expanding?

I've hear several theories stating that the universe is expanding faster than the speed of light, others claim that the universe expands faster the further away you measure it. Which of this is ...
6
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1answer
13k views

Relationship between absolute magnitude of a star and its luminosity?

Why does this relationship involves the absolute magnitude of the sun and its luminosity? How to derive an expression relating the absolute magnitude of a star to its luminosity? So according to the ...
23
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3answers
5k views

Why is the Moon's orbit so complicated?

I like to think I have a good enough understanding of astrophysics but there's still one thing that I just can't explain. Why does the Moon orbit the Earth the way it does? Many other moons in the ...
33
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3answers
10k views

What happens to the 99.9 % of the sun-rays that do not fall on any planets or any other celestial body?

I assume that about 99.9% of the sun-rays that do not fall on any planet or any other celestial body keep on traveling farther and farther unto infinity. Apparently such rays get lost. Keeping in mind ...
16
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2answers
838 views

Open problems in astronomy that an amateur (with a PhD in some other field) would have a chance of solving?

What are some open problems in astronomy that an amateur would have a chance of solving? Suppose the amateur has a PhD in some other field, owns a basic telescope, a set of filters, diffraction ...
11
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4answers
577 views

Why is there no concavity in the orbit of the moon around the Sun?

Such questions have been asked here and I have read the answers some of which are quite informative. However, I want an answer that's straightforward. I have gone through the following paper by A B ...
2
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2answers
796 views

What explains the existence of energy/matter if it cannot be created or destroyed?

If the energy/matter that was contained in the singularity before the Big Bang had always existed, and if it’s true that energy/matter cannot be created or destroyed, then what explains its existence?
1
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1answer
103 views

Universe and black holes

I know that the radius of the observable universe is about 46.6 billion light years and is expanding at every instant of time due to dark energy . So is it possible that we our entire universe could ...
0
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1answer
91 views

Has “GHz-spinning dust” ever been demonstrated in the laboratory?

This excellent answer to the question What is the physics of the “spinning dust” contribution to Cosmic Microwave Background measurements? includes the figure below which helps show what it was the ...
42
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2answers
43k views

How does neutron star collapse into black hole?

We know the spectacular explosions of supernovae, that when heavy enough, form black holes. The explosive emission of both electromagnetic radiation and massive amounts of matter is clearly observable ...
14
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1answer
1k views

Timescale of ignition of a protostar?

What is the timescale of start of nuclear fusion as T Tauri type star transforms into a Main Sequence star? Wikipedia article on T Tauri type stars mentions: Their central temperatures are too low ...
25
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1answer
2k views

Why don't (or can't) stars be more than 325 or so times the mass of the sun? What limits their size?

Is there a particular reason why stars cannot grow as massive as they want to? And why doesn't this limit apply to supermassive black holes?
16
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3answers
2k views

How does a gravity slingshot actually work?

From what I know of elliptical orbits, an object speeds up near the periapsis and slows down at the apoapsis, much like we learned in high school physics how a sphere would roll down and back up a ...
6
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1answer
258 views

Gravitational pull needed to keep a gas in atmosphere

How can you determine the gravitational force needed to keep a particular gas in the atmosphere of a planet (for example, carbon dioxide (CO2))? I came across the following formula $\left(\frac{8RT}{...
2
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1answer
233 views

What is a good way to start learning Astrophysics [duplicate]

I am a junior in high school and throughout my life I have always had a fascination with space. I use to watch "Space's Deepest secrets" and stuff like that but after a while I stopped learning much ...
7
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2answers
282 views

Assuming a sufficient amount of mass above the density threshold, does the actual concentration of the mass matter in creating a black hole?

I've heard that the actual density of a black hole (within the volume of the event horizon) is pretty low - does that mean that any sufficiently large volume of mass over that density is also a black ...
5
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1answer
147 views

How long does lunar opposition surge last? Are there measurements of the full Moon getting suddenly brighter?

Wikipedia's opposition surge is a short article and forwards shadow hiding and coherent backscattering as proposed mechanisms, but it doesn't really explain how much the brightness of the Moon ...
4
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1answer
204 views

Satellite's orbit

What is the maximum distance for a satellite to orbit the earth? Does earth's gravity has the impact on satellite? I do know that earth's gravity will never be zero and it's gravity is inversely ...
3
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1answer
619 views

Is a black hole made from a anti-matter star the same as a ordinary black hole?

Would a black hole from a star made of anti-matter be the same as a blackhole made of ordinary matter?.
1
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1answer
79 views

Fraction of initial mass lost (radiated) by neutron star mergers compared to black hole mergers?

GW190521 black hole merger total mass calculation and missing mass, how does this happen? notes that there are about 9 solar masses missing from the final black hole. GW170817 is the first observed ...
18
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2answers
2k views

How can astronomers pinpoint the location of the source of a neutrino?

In the popular press, in recent months, we have heard a lot about high-energy neutrinos from far outside our solar system reaching our detectors.... But I wonder... If a single neutrino from a great ...
11
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3answers
2k views

Why did astronomers believe most or all stellar black holes had masses no greater than 15 solar masses?

The so-called 'mass gaps' for black holes, according to theoretical models, are between 2-5 solar masses and 50 to 150 solar masses. (Actually, I have read that there is no good theoretical reason ...
5
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2answers
864 views

What uncertainty does an error bar signify in astronomy?

When an astronomer talks about her/his topic and shows an X/Y-plot with error bars. What should one assume that those error bars represent? 1 standard deviation? Or 2? Or some specific significance ...
3
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0answers
278 views

Angular momentum in planetary disk formation

Reading about the formation of planetary disks, one of the major problems, it seems like, is the evacuation of angular momentum. Aparently planets can't form with the amount o angular momentum the ...
1
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1answer
69 views

Books describing first-hand experience of astrophysicists finding planets without skipping actual maths

Are there good references of astronomical texts where we get a first-hand experience of astronomers uncovering astronomical gems using maths alone and not using observation. Observation may have been ...
17
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2answers
941 views

Problem regarding the absorption lines of the sun

Some of the wavelengths of light that are emitted from the sun will be absorbed by atoms in the outer layer of the sun and also the atmosphere of the sun, and we see this as absorption lines in the ...
6
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2answers
307 views

Book recommendation

I'm looking for a modern astrophysics text. I've had Barbara Ryden's book Foundations of Astrophysics recommended to me and it sounds okay, but the only review of it I've seen slagged off the problem ...
6
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2answers
156 views

The creation of comets

How are comet and meteors made, and what causes them to travel through space so fast? I have tried researching, but I decided this was the faster way.
6
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3answers
190 views

Can't pulsars and stars be used for gravitational wave measurement?

Suppose that we collected photons from a distant star, and they arrive regularly at 15 photons every microsecond onto a CCD, when a gravity wave bends space time, wouldn't the regular 15 photons graph ...
4
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1answer
267 views

Why does the adiabatic exponent decrease at the ionization zones?

The context is the ionization zones in stellar atmospheres or interiors, the Sun, for instance. The adiabatic exponent is the heat capacity ratio: $$\gamma = \frac{c_P}{c_V} = \frac{C_P}{C_V}$$ And,...
3
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0answers
411 views

Any ideas for an astronomy + ML project? [closed]

I wish to do an astronomy related project which incorporates machine learning.Do you have any suggestions?
3
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1answer
274 views

Effects of a rogue planet passing between the Earth and the Moon?

The plot of Thundarr the Barbarian got me thinking about the science behind the passage of a runaway planet between the Earth and the Moon and its effect on the Earth and Moon themselves, as well ...
2
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1answer
195 views

What are the equations governing stellar evolution (Luminosity, Mass, Temperature, Radius)

I'm looking for ('simplified') equations governing stellar evolution. Especially how mass, luminosity, temperature and radius of a star change during it's lifetime. As well as equations which tell you ...
2
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2answers
79 views

How does gas in accretion disks of supermassive black holes create orbital torques on smaller black holes within the disks causing them to migrate?

This answer to What enhances the capture and merge rates of pairs of small black holes orbiting around supermassive black holes? links to Migration Traps in Disks Around Supermassive Black Holes which ...
2
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1answer
202 views

Can you assume atmosphere height for the purpose of surface pressure calculation?

Given that by definition of scale height an atmosphere thins by a factor of 1/e^x where x is elevation in terms of scale height multiples (See the table here: Definition of Scale Height), can we ...
1
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0answers
308 views

To show perihelion precession motion of Mercury in Python with matplotlib

I'm trying to make it more general code so I can trace even a parabola or hyperbola for $e=1, E=0$ and $e>1, E>0$ respectively. And after achieving that general code I want to make the same code ...
1
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1answer
142 views

Keplerian Elements

So, I've been doing endless research, and I've found a bit of information, all in different places, that is. Now, I'm getting really confused about it; I can't keep up with it all anymore, so, now, it'...
16
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5answers
6k views

How to be an astrophysicist?

For a high-school students, what are the ways to become an astrophysicist? What should he/she take in college? What is the career path to become an astrophysicist?
7
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0answers
123 views

Has the Penrose process ever been linked to an observed phenomenon in some way?

This answer to What defines the plane of an accretion disk around a black hole? mentions the Penrose process as a potential mechanism that could change the axis of the orbital angular momentum of an ...
7
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2answers
388 views

What was the length of the solar day 73 million years ago?

How could this be estimated, or how accurately could it be extrapolated from a present-day measurement of the Earth's spin-down rate?
6
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1answer
122 views

Why is molecular hydrogen (H2) so difficult for astronomers to detect?

I am reading a great deal about the various forms of hydrogen throughout the universe, and I keep reading that 'molecular hydrogen is notoriously difficult to detect', and other sentiments along those ...
5
votes
1answer
94 views

GW from merging of neutron stars and black holes

If it had been detected gravitational waves from merging of black holes (BH), and neutron stars (NS), why there are no detection of black holes merging with neutron stars? Why a BH-NS merging should ...
5
votes
1answer
214 views

Delay between neutrino pulse and visible flash of supernova

If you were orbiting a star undergoing a core-collapse supernova, what would be the delay between the neutrino pulse from the collapse and the first visible effects on the surface? Basically, I'm ...
5
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1answer
3k views

How do you convert an observed magnitude to a flux? [duplicate]

For a series of supernovae I have the observed magnitude and I want to convert these values to flux. I understand that I need to apply: $m - M_r = -2.5\log_{10} \frac{F}{F_r}$ where $M_r$ is a '...
4
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1answer
2k views

Angular Diameter Distance

The definition of the angular diameter distance is the ratio of an object's physical transverse size to its angular size. However when I was reading my textbook, Astrophysics in a Nutshell by Dan Maoz ...
4
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0answers
98 views

How do magnetic fields mess with astronomers' observations?

Does anyone else watch 'Dr. Becky' on YouTube? Her March 'Night Sky News' video, subtitled 'The biggest black hole burp, a wobbly Milky Way & Betelgeuse is brighter' says that... "Dust and ...
4
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1answer
232 views

What is equation of straight line for a ideal blackbody on the color color diagram?

The color-color diagram is a plot between $U-B$ vs $B-V$ values. For a ideal blackbody, what is the equation of this line? In other words, what does the linear relation between $U-B$ and $B-V$ look ...
4
votes
1answer
624 views

What does Eddington Limit (Eddington Luminosity) Show?

We know Eddington Limit (Eddington Luminosity) is calculated with this formula: $$L_{Ed} \approx 3 * 10^4 * L_{sun} * \frac{M}{M_{sun}}$$ Example: For a black hole with $10^4 M_{sun}$, we get $$L_{...