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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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 ...
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How do scientists know that distant parts of the universe obey the physical laws exactly as we observe around us?

How do scientists know that distant parts of the universe obey the physical laws exactly as we observe around us? The question might look a bit odd but I am really stuck on my head. We know, ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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5answers
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Quantum Mechanics after the detection of Gravitational Waves

Of course everyone knows by now of the detection of Gravitational waves But, since General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics don't get along, can we say now that this detection proves that Quantum ...
25
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1answer
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Why does the sensitivity to GWs drops off inversely proportional to the distance?

This answer makes me wonder why the sensitivity to gravitational waves decreases proportionally to the distance. Since gravitational waves extend in all directions, my (uneducated) guess would be ...
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1answer
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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?
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4answers
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Why can't we feel the Earth's revolution?

I googled it and checked a few Q&A and there's only things about "Earth's rotation". But why can't we feel the revolution? They say we can't feel the rotation because the Earth spins at a ...
23
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3answers
7k views

What would happen to a polished marble statue left in space for a million years?

Consider it doesn't collide with any other objects. Would it be preserved perfectly in the vacuum or would its surface be damaged by anything like UV rays, radiation, gas, space dust, etc?
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3answers
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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 ...
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3answers
1k views

How does the evolution of a solar system not break the second law of thermodynamics?

Please forgive: I am a layman when it comes to physics and cosmology, and have tried finding an answer to this that I can understand, with no luck. As I understand it, the solar system evolved from a ...
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1answer
3k views

Why are there no gamma-ray bursts detected in our galaxy?

I found from Wikipedia and other sites that there are no GRBs detected in the Milky Way. Can someone give a feasible reason for that? Why are there no GRBs detected in the Milky Way galaxy?
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If all stars rotate, why was there a theory developed that requires non-rotating stars?

According to Penrose's research, a non-rotating star would end up, after gravitational collapse, as a perfectly spherical black hole. However, every star in the universe has some kind of angular ...
18
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1answer
609 views

Is it “weird” that all disc galaxies rotate once every billion years?

In a recent paper (Cosmic clocks: A Tight Radius - Velocity Relationship for HI-Selected Galaxies by Meurer, et al.), it was noted in the conclusion that: [This] implies a constant orbital time of ∼...
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856 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 ...
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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?
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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
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1answer
715 views

How is the Hubble constant determined from gravitational waves?

We know there is a discrepancy between measurements of the Hubble constant, $H_0$. On one side there is the method of the Planck mission, where they use the CMB and the $\Lambda$CDM model to determine ...
14
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1answer
2k views

What causes the dimensions of a star increase when its hydrogen fuel is exhausted?

What causes the dimensions of a star increase when its hydrogen fuel is exhausted? For example, the Sun is expected to increase its radius 250 times. What causes this if its temperature is expected to ...
14
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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4answers
383 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 ...
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2answers
502 views

Would a tablespoon of a neutron star remain intact?

I've heard people say that a tablespoon of neutron star would weigh over a billion tons. If we ever could take a tablespoon of one would it still remain intact with the same density?
10
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1answer
242 views

Is any consensus forming on the solution to the “Lithium Problem”?

The "Lithium Problem" relates to the fact very-low-metallicity stars appear to have a Li/H ratio approximately one third of what would be expected. The ratio should be the same as the prediction from ...
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2answers
2k views

Gravitational Properties of Asteroids

How large would an asteroid have to be in order to hold a person so that the person could not escape?
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2answers
2k views

Why do certain moons have their rotational period equal to their orbital period?

Our moon and Saturn's moon, Titan, have this feature. Because of this we only observe one side (hemispere) of our moon. Why is this? What is the Newtonian or astrophysics that would explain this? ...
9
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1answer
127 views

How can the life time of a multiple star system, such as for example the trinary system PSR J0337+1715 be derived?

As for example explained at the beginning of this blog post, the trinary system consists of a millisecond pulsar ($1.438$ times the mass of the sun) orbited by two white dwarfs. One of the white ...
9
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1answer
194 views

Period coincidence of Planet Nine with furthest Kuiper belt objects

A lead scientist of the Planet Nine theory said that "The period with which it goes around the sun is a rational multiple of the periods of all the furthest Kuiper Belt objects" To what degree of ...
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159 views

Why do stars born in cluster finally drive away from each other

In other words, if a group of stars born within the same nebula, e.g. Pleiads, are initially gravitationally bound - what causes them to finally get separated and proceed individually? Is it the ...
8
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1answer
123 views

Gas giants and seismology

A long time ago I read a very interesting way of studying the sun's internal structure via sound waves. This new field of study, probability already known here, is called helioseismology. How much ...
8
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1answer
207 views

Estimates for “undetectable” planets in extra-solar systems

As far as I've been able to determine, it appears there are some significant limitations on our ability to detect exo-planets that are below certain sizes or beyond certain distances from their stars....
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2answers
635 views

Can I see Harvest moon in India?

I just saw articles which say the Harvest moon will be visible in the US. Apart from the US, in which other country can people see it? Can I see it from India?
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2answers
440 views

Why do we use FITS format for scientific images especially in astronomy? How is it different from formats such as JPEG, PNG etc?

I am new to astronomy and I found that the telescopic dataset can be stored in the FITS format instead of JPEG. Why do we have a special image format just for scientific images?
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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?
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2answers
378 views

Why are the magnetic poles of a pulsar so far off the rotational axis, yet stable?

My understanding is that a pulsar is a neutron star whose magnetic poles don't coincide with the rotational poles and whose magnetic poles sweep through Earth (allowing us to hear radio noise). If we ...
7
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2answers
738 views

Are there real uses of abstract algebra in astrophysics?

It is known that a physicist must have, at least in general, a good level in mathematics in order to research and understand other people's works. Linear algebra is a good example, as ODEs and ...
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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 ...
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1answer
3k views

Have I nearly found the event horizon of a black hole?

The calculator on the website https://planetcalc.com/1758/ cites Wikipedia's Gravitational acceleration and implements: $$g = G \frac{M}{(R + h)^2}$$ For a black hole with mass $M$ equal to 5 solar ...
6
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3answers
484 views

Why do neutron stars collide instead of just revolving around each other like planets revolve around the Sun?

We know about events like two neutron star colliding and resulting in a black hole, also collision of black holes, and collision of galaxies. But we never see a satellite such as a moon colliding with ...
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2answers
1k views

Observational evidence for the existence of black holes [duplicate]

What is the direct observational evidence that black holes exist? I have read that black holes have been detected through X-ray emission. What is some other observational evidence for black holes?
6
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1answer
224 views

Kepler and the Sun position

When Kepler went to Tycho Brahe, he learned that Tycho Brahe was using the mean position of the sun to note down the position of Mars. Well, Kepler needed to convert these datas of Brahe to do his own ...
6
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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 ...
6
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1answer
277 views

What do the acronyms in “AT 2017 gfo” mean?

About 11 hours after the detection of GW170817 by Ligo/Virgo and the quickly succeeding detected GRB170817, a transient afterglow in the optical-nIR frequency appeared which showed many signs of r-...
6
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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}{...
6
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2answers
3k views

Our universe the surface of a 4-dimensional sphere?

The cosmic microwave background that we observe uniformly around us is usually explained by assuming that our universe is the surface of a four dimensional sphere. That way the uniformity makes sense ...
6
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1answer
64 views

Do the neutrons in neutron stars emit the radio waves?

Neutrons can, especially in extreme circumstances (and large concentrations) emit electromagnetic radiation. I specifically asked about this in Physics S.E. Has a free neutron ever been shown to ...
6
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1answer
128 views

What more could be learned from a rare astronomical event if we knew precisely when it would occur?

This is actually related to a question I recently asked on Worldbuilding, but seemed more appropriately asked here. To keep this from being too broad in scope, let's assume that someone figured out ...
6
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1answer
1k views

What is the reason the Jovian planets are in descending order of size?

Is there any scientific reason for the jovian planets to be in descending order of size or is it purely coincidental? In terms of radii it goes Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
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2answers
484 views

Weight of a celestial body

How do astronomers find out the correct weight of a planet even though there isn't any direct means to weigh them? What technique do they use? Just curious!
6
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1answer
58 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 ...

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