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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
5
votes
2answers
231 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
votes
4answers
339 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 ...
12
votes
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
11k 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 ...
33
votes
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 ...
40
votes
2answers
40k 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
757 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
896 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 ...
22
votes
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 ...
13
votes
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
votes
1answer
234 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}{...
5
votes
3answers
150 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
267 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
180 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
votes
1answer
599 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?.
2
votes
2answers
410 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
vote
1answer
97 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
votes
1answer
66 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
785 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 ...
24
votes
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(s) why stars cannot grow as massive as they want to? And why doesn't this limit apply to supermassive black holes?
5
votes
2answers
212 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
313 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?
2
votes
2answers
65 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
votes
1answer
195 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
vote
1answer
59 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
286 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?
5
votes
1answer
196 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
votes
1answer
2k 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
votes
1answer
199 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
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
votes
1answer
552 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_{...
4
votes
1answer
230 views

If the Sun were bigger but colder, Earth would be hotter or colder?

That is the question. I know the concepts of luminosity $(L=4\pi R^2F)$ and the flow $F=\sigma· T^4$, with $T$ the temperature in its surface. But how I use that to know if the Earth would get warmer ...
4
votes
0answers
91 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
180 views

How massive must a rocky body be to liquify adequately to eliminate internal mass concentrations that could disrupt natural satellite orbits?

Maybe a slightly weird question, and maybe more appropriate for some future geophysics SE, but I feel like this is what questions like Do moons have moons? are really driving at, and it just almost ...
2
votes
1answer
298 views

What should I read next after Neil deGrasse Tysons “Astrophysics for people in a hurry”? [closed]

I really liked the clever way the author explained stuff in this book but I already understood most of it. Neil himself states in the book that if you are not in a hurry and want to know more about ...
2
votes
2answers
243 views

What is the solar system orientation to its direction of travel? [closed]

I saw the picture and seem incorrectly drawn. Its shows the the edge of the solar system leading facing the Heliosheath. It would not be like NASA to post something as incorrect as this. The solar ...
2
votes
1answer
104 views

What irradiance does the Moon receive during a total lunar eclipse?

As we know, the total solar irradiance normally received by the Moon is about 1361 $W/m^2$ (the same as the top of the Earth's atmosphere). Of course, this changes during lunar eclipses, but the Moon ...
2
votes
1answer
140 views

Distance to objects

When we read that, for instance, M31 is 2.54 ± 0.11 Mly (778 ± 33 kpc) away from us, does this distance estimate take into account the travel time of the light we observe? In other words, what is the "...
2
votes
3answers
187 views

Do interstellar asteroids decelerate and eventually stop?

I do wonder, do interstellar asteroids eventually stop at one point in space after they gradually decelerate (or) even do they decelerate? Though there is no air like on earth and thus asteroids ...
2
votes
1answer
50 views

What do these statements about interstellar magnetic fields really mean?

Quanta Magazine's The Hidden Magnetic Universe Begins to Come Into View is a fascinating review of a rapidly evolving field in astronomy. It contains some statements that I feel are important to ...
1
vote
2answers
278 views

Calculating the mass of star

I am doing a project which requires that I have data for the mass of several stars. However, the data for mass of stars is obviously not readily available as it's really hard to calculate. In such a ...
1
vote
1answer
125 views

What is the farthest we can see into the universe?

Is there a limit in which the mass in space obscure the ability to detect anything farther even as technology progresses? Related: Can the range of the observable universe be extended through an ...
1
vote
2answers
553 views

What would be the apparent magnitude of Betelgeuse if it were as close to Earth as Sirius?

How large and bright would Betelgeuse appear if it were as close to Earth as Sirius, before and after it goes supernova?
1
vote
0answers
192 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
vote
2answers
467 views

What is the fastest a galaxy or other body has been measured to (or can) travel?

Our solar system travels at an average speed of 515,000 mph and our galaxy at 1.3 million mph through space. What is the fastest moving body in space recorded and the fastest can a black hole or ...
0
votes
1answer
122 views

Thought experiment about our location in the Universe [closed]

[I am sorry if this isn't the best place for this - it was either here or maybe on the Worldbuilding SE.] I recently re-read one of my favourite childhood sci-fi books (Chocky by John Wyndham), and ...
-2
votes
1answer
583 views

How does space time differ between galaxies? [duplicate]

Does the gravity wells differ enough between galaxies to have different speeds in space time? How much slower in space time would the biggest galaxy have compared to the Milky Way?