Questions tagged [observational-astronomy]

Questions about the techniques and practice of observing the night sky.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

If we were to see the Sun with our naked eyes from the Orion belt, would all planets be encompassed inside the star? Is this calculable?

When we see a star it looks much bigger in diameter to us than it really is, this picture (extracted from here) explains what I mean: Notice that the point we see in the skynight, represented by the ...
Eduardo Serra's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

Solar Noon: meridian crossing time versus time of maximum elevation

According to the first paragraph of the Noon Wikipedia page, solar noon is the moment when the Sun crosses the meridian and is at its highest elevation in the sky. The wording there suggests that ...
David H's user avatar
  • 844
7 votes
3 answers
292 views

When is optical refraction important in Astronomy? (beyond Earth's atmosphere)

What are commonly important astrophysical systems/models, where optical refraction is important or necessary to account for? I would kindly ask you not to consider refraction in Earth's atmosphere or ...
Alexey Bobrick's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
6k views

How to calculate the altitude of the Moon?

With the known latitude coordinate of the observing position, how to find the altitude of the moon when it is high, i.e when it crosses the local meridian?
Ken's user avatar
  • 366
5 votes
2 answers
392 views

What are some night sky objects I could see with my Celestron UpClose 20x50 Porro Binocular?

I bought this binocular because I've read countless times that one should start with a pair of binoculars before diving into telescopes. I've seen details of the moon and I can notice Venus round ...
Eduardo Serra's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
355 views

What's the smallest scale at which dark matter has been measured?

What is the smallest scale at which we have detected "dark matter" (more kinetic energy than would be predicted)? If you don't mind indulging a follow-up: Would its detection on smaller scales be ...
Steve Clay's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
9k views

How to calculate Longitude from Right Ascension?

Considering that a star of certain declination is crossing the local meridian at the observer's zenith at an unknown location on the earth. Here, the declination of the star is equal to the observer's ...
Ken's user avatar
  • 366
6 votes
1 answer
8k views

How to measure the altitude and azimuth of a star?

Given that the star is crossing the local meridian line in a certain location, I've tried calculating the altitude of a star by finding the difference between the declination of the star and the ...
Ken's user avatar
  • 366
23 votes
2 answers
4k views

At what distance from Earth would our Sun be the same apparent magnitude as the next brightest star in the sky?

When I stand outside looking at the night sky, to my untrained eye, everything except the moon looks like a star. I know intellectually that some are planets circling our sun, and some are entire ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is the object in this photo?

What object is in this photo? View coordinates: $47.25103 \ \ 38.81697$ Time: $2013$-$11$-$23 ~21$:$00 +4 ~UTC$ Sony $A580, \ 50mm f/1.4 15"$
George's user avatar
  • 273
15 votes
4 answers
736 views

How would I measure that I'm at a pole?

How would a person measure that he is at a planetary pole? My first inclination is to use a sextant to ensure that the Sun remains at a constant inclination. However, due to the orbit around the Sun ...
dotancohen's user avatar
  • 1,743
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

Open data for satellites positions

Is there a site / service where I can get the data for the positions of satellites (I mean artificial satellite, ISS, etc.)? I know that some sites provide a visualization of these positions, but I'm ...
Romain Linsolas's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
556 views

Colossus telescope, trying to outsmart aliens?

I was listening to Jeff Kuhn's talk on SETI's Colossus telescope project. Background: He explains his theory that a civilization living somewhere the galaxy would want to hide, and thus would ...
Realz Slaw's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
219 views

Planned telescope to detect alien waste-heat

I remember watching a talk by someone who designed a telescope to view a single star at a time. The purpose of the telescope was to detect waste-heat which would presumably be emitted by any ...
Realz Slaw's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
165 views

Is it possible to observe if there is traces of life on an exoplanet?

We can observe exoplanets, but is it possible with today's technology to observe if there is life as we know it on an exoplanet? What do you look for when doing this kind of observation?
bogen's user avatar
  • 2,356
6 votes
1 answer
211 views

How much did we know about asteroids at the beginning of the 20th century?

When was the nature and size of asteroids discovered? I was under the impression that it was not until the 1980s or 1990s with deeper space probes and Hubble imagery that we learned the nature of ...
dotancohen's user avatar
  • 1,743
14 votes
3 answers
3k views

How can I safely observe a Solar Flare?

Solar Flares obviously release extreme amounts of energy and extend thousands of miles out into space. Because they are so big I would like to be able to observe some of these events through a ...
user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
316 views

What study profiles could land me the job of astronomer?

I realize there are very few to none universities that offer direct specialization of astronomy. If I aspired to be make astronomy my career choice, I'd likely have to pick something like physics and ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 6,249
17 votes
1 answer
360 views

How can an amateur astronomer verify the position of near Earth objects?

Sometimes, hobby-astronomers use rather professional means to observe the big voids of space. Every now and then (think in months, not days) even I can locate an NEO (near Earth object). Now, I'm ...
e-sushi's user avatar
  • 1,700
11 votes
2 answers
485 views

How can the orbit of a Kuiper Belt Object be differentiated from the transit of a rogue planet?

Related to the question "Are any Pluto-sized objects remaining to be discovered in the Kuiper Belt?" and the fact that most of the Kuiper Belt objects have very elliptical orbits, the question begs, ...
user avatar
20 votes
1 answer
457 views

How often do comets survive passage by the Sun?

I had heard that comet ISON might not survive a close pass by our Sun, and I was curious about the odds of how other comets had fared. So, how often do other comets survive a close pass by our sun? ...
Sarah Szabo's user avatar
  • 2,003
10 votes
1 answer
145 views

What observational constraints are there in detecting the presence of volcanism on exoplanets?

This question is somewhat related to my earlier question How are the compositional components of exoplanet atmospheres differentiated?, but this about a specific surface-atmospheric phenomena - ...
user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
710 views

What are the current observational limits on the existence of Dyson spheres/swarms/rings?

A Dyson sphere/swarm/ring is a hypothetical structure an extra-terrestrial entity would construct to collect a large fraction of its host star's light, and would likely generate a fairly strong ...
Guillochon's user avatar
  • 1,570
17 votes
1 answer
3k views

Has Hawking Radiation Ever Been Observed?

I know Hawking Radiation has firm theoretical footing, but has a signal ever actually been observed? What observational research is being done to attempt to see this effect? Is it simply too tall an ...
astromax's user avatar
  • 5,963
13 votes
2 answers
2k views

How does angular resolution of a telescope translate to its parallax precision?

We can often read in the scientific and also more casual reader literature and articles about the angular resolution of various telescopes and other optical equipment, be it ground based or onboard ...
TildalWave's user avatar
  • 6,270
31 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why can't we observe the Oort cloud with a telescope?

The Oort cloud is a hypothetical structure based on our observation of long-period comets. There are currently proposals to design probes to confirm the existence of the Oort cloud. Now, sending a ...
called2voyage's user avatar
  • 6,312
14 votes
1 answer
699 views

How do I build a stargazing aficionado's Sun funnel to observe our nearest star safely?

How do I observe the Sun safely, with tools I could build myself and without breaking the bank? If I wanted to build a Sun funnel on my own and use it on my enthusiast grade telescope, how would I do ...
TildalWave's user avatar
  • 6,270
8 votes
3 answers
2k views

I'd like to become an astronomer. What experience do I need? [closed]

I think I'd like to become an astronomer. What degrees and training/experience do I need to become one? I've heard I should take science and mathematics, but I don't know which specific courses I ...
Timtech's user avatar
  • 1,685
18 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why does the moon sometimes appear giant and a orange red color near the horizon?

I've read various ideas about why the moon looks larger on the horizon. The most reasonable one in my opinion is that it is due to how our brain calculates (perceives) distance, with objects high ...
Larian LeQuella's user avatar
15 votes
2 answers
539 views

What percent of planets are in the position that they could be viewed edge-on from Earth? (and thus able to undergo transits)

Star number 12644769 from the Kepler Input Catalog was identified as an eclipsing binary with a 41-day period, from the detection of its mutual eclipses (9). Eclipses occur because the orbital ...
Larian LeQuella's user avatar

1
24 25 26 27
28