Questions tagged [planet]

Questions on astronomical objects orbiting a star massive enough to be rounded, not massive enough to cause fusion, and which have cleared its orbit of planetesimals.

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2answers
349 views

Why is the Earth's magnetic field stronger than its neighbors?

[Edited] I've learned that the Earth's core is hot due to decay of radioactive elements, causing the liquid part of the core to stay liquid. This was stated as an explanation to why the Earth has a ...
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363 views

How was the hypothetical ninth planet kicked so far out of the Solar System?

I was reading this article on science news and ran into the following statement: Such a remote super-Earth probably originated closer to the sun only to be kicked out by the other giant planets ...
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3 years later, how strong is the evidence for planet 9?

I came across post in quora where somebody said that "most astronomers no longer think Planet 9 exists" and being somewhat shocked by that, I did a google search and found a fairly recent article that ...
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Why are Saturn bands much fainter than Jupiter's?

The atmospheric composition of both planets are very similar. Then why are Jupiter's bands more visible (North and South equatorial belt, etc.): Whilst Saturn's are not: (except for the storm of ...
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How small can a planet be and still have Earth-like gravity?

A planet made from denser material than Earth might have equal gravity to Earth but a smaller radius. How small can a planet be and still have Earth gravity? Ideally it should be habitable by humans, ...
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Why don't planets and asteroids have (cometary) tails?

Comets have tails. We all know that, and a lucky few have seen the better known. So why don't the planets (e.g. Earth, Mars) have tails? Why don't asteroids don't have tails?
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Is it possible that only one hemisphere of a planet has an atmosphere?

Suppose there is a tidally locked planet orbiting a star. The planet's surface consists of a global ocean, that is, liquid water. At the inner hemisphere the temperature is so high that the water is ...
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103 views

What's the expected distribution of planet masses in a given system?

Given that the mass of a planet at a given orbital distance r is dependent on the protoplanetary material in the neighborhood of r at the time of formation (assuming no planetary migration), what ...
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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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Are there equal number of planets, stars, galaxies etc in observable universe spinning in both directions?

Just because we observed that our milky way galaxy is spinning in a certain direction therefore we assume it is applicable to all other galaxies, I am curious to find out if hypothetically most of the ...
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Is Pluto a "proto-planet"?

My question is this : could the Charon-Pluto system becomes in the coming few millions years a full fledged planet, as in the IAU classification ? I ask this because there are two facts that bother ...
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How does the solar wind destroy the atmosphere of a planet lacking a magnetic field?

It is said that because Mars doesn't have a magnetic field its atmosphere disappeared, but how can solar wind cause that? That the protons and electrons can changes molecules in an atmosphere I can ...
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How much mass does an object in space need to keep a human on its surface?

Assume there were a roughly spherical object in space like a meteorite or a comet. If I weighed 80kg on Earth, how much mass would be required for an object in space so that I could stay on its ...
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Was there ever a hypothesis about a planet called Biga?

I just re-read a popular astronomy book that was published when I was a child, about 1973. It starts with an interview to Harold C. Urey where the interviewer asks about a hypothetical planet in our ...
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780 views

Official Definition of Satellite?

So I had an argument with a friend, which was about whether the Moon is a planet or a satellite. IAU 2006 Resolution B5 gives definitions on what it is to be a planet, but there is a vagueness, as I ...
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Selecting a Telescope for Viewing Planets

I hope to observe planets like Jupiter and Saturn, and moons. I am a novice when it comes to telescopes and I know images in magazines are not taken with at least 12-inch telescope in a middle of ...
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1answer
416 views

If the fifth gas giant in the early Solar System was completely ejected, where would it be now?

I've read about the possible 5th gas giant in the Solar System, and about its ejection about ~100 million years after the formation of the Solar System. However, I have not seen anything about its ...
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What astronomical observations would give conclusive proof of alien life?

There are several ways we are coming closer to answering the question "is there life elsewhere in the universe?". One is by first understanding very well the origin life on our own planet. Another is ...
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What does the term alien planet actually refer to?

This article left me wondering what do they mean by the term alien planet? Aren't all planets simply alien by default, or do they mean planets outside our solar system are alien? Do they mean there is ...
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Feasibility of Grand Tack Hypothesis

Something I've been wondering lately is how much the grand tack hypothesis stands up to present scrutiny. While the grand tack proposes that Jupiter and Saturn were caught in a 3:2 mean-motion ...
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142 views

"Pluto Time" for any solar system body

A while back NASA made a site called Pluto Time, where you can enter your address and find that "...moment near dawn and dusk each day, where the illumination on Earth matches that of high noon on ...
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Planetary reference systems and time

I am researching into how coordinate systems of solar systems objects are created by reading some of the reports written by the Working Group on Cartographic Coordinates and Rotational Elements (e.g. ...
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397 views

Galactic Habitable Zone

Do galaxies have habitable zones the same as stars do? Say in a galaxy with a very active nucleus producing a lot of heat and radiation, would there be a point at which no star's planets could harbor ...
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Is atmospheric turbulence irrelevant for ExoPlanetary transits and radial velocity measurments?

Atmospheric turbulence is known to scatter photons in a quasi-random way along their path throughout the atmosphere, resulting in lower imaging resolution than would have been anticipated by ...
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Composition of planets' core

It is often possible to find a list of the materials that compose the cores and the mantle of plantes (often they are iron and/or nickel). How can these materials be determined in our Solar system? ...
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Are there any known planets whose axis is oriented such that one pole always faces its star?

Earth rotates around the sun and around its axis (A North, South axis) giving us days, nights and seasons. Are there any known planets that rotate with an axis pointing toward its sun so that one ...
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Could an orphan/rogue planet have a moon?

Is there some reason why an orphan or rogue planet wouldn't have a moon? Let's say it started out in a normal system and then just got flung out by an unstable orbit.
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Ninth planet - what else could it be?

So recently it was announced that there might be a ninth planet out there. Some people (from NASA) say the odds are 50% that it is a real planet, since it hasn't been discovered by telescopes yet. ...
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857 views

What are the "weather" (and other) implications of long "days" and short "years" on Mercury?

On earth, it takes a "day" for it to rotate on its axis, and 365 of these days for it to revolve around the sun. On Mercury a "day" that encompasses a rotation represents 59 earth ...
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Mountains are higher than the atmosphere?

Is it theoretically possible that planets exist with mountains so high that their peaks overtop the planets atmosphere? And which physical laws are relevant for this question? I'm just curious. The ...
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Why not us interferometry to take a picture of Pluto?

Interferometry is among the best ways (if not, the best way!) to have an image of a very distant object. Recently a picture of the black hole at the center of M87 was released. It is the result of ...
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What's the name for [the other kind of planet] in a binary star system?

This XKCD what-if talks about rainbows on planets in a binary star system. It points out that there are two types: circumbinary planets, where the planet orbits far from and around both stars [the ...
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Is Mars brightest from Earth at opposition, perihelion or somewhere in between?

After reading this article, I was inspired to run some simulations at NASA's JPL Solar System Simulator to see Earth's and Mars' orbits from above. From what I could visually determine (from the JPEG ...
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Do all planets have a van Allen radiation belt?

Earth has the van Allen radiation belts. Which other planets have one? Can it be determined if distant planets in other solar systems have one?
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Maximum and minimum gas giant & ice giant densities

I'm working on a star system generator for a game; I'd like its results to be plausible but they needn't be super-realistic. I've got the orbital distances and masses of each body in the system, and ...
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What is the gravitational force felt on Earth from the other planets in our solar system?

How much gravitational force is felt on earth from the other planets in the solar system? The sun exerts the strongest g-force, holding us in it's orbit, followed by the moon which affects the tides ...
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Is Planet Nine shepherding the Kuiper Belt?

Is it possible Planet Nine is shepherding the Kuiper Belt similar to the way Jupiter shepherds the asteroid belt? I understand that very little is actually known about Planet Nine at this point, but ...
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254 views

How close can planets form to one another?

With the NASA announcement today regarding the discovery of a system containing seven earth-sized planets (3 within the habitable zone), I wondered about the seemingly crowded conditions. What ...
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337 views

Do most planetary systems have fewer planets than the solar system?

It is my impression that most planetary systems have, at most, three to four planets. Is that real? Or is it just that we lack the ability to detect most planets?
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Why, in the Solar System, all the mass seems to be concentrated at the centre?

Is this a consequence of planet formation in accretion disks ?
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Why isn't Earth tidally locked to the sun?

Given that the moon has long been tidally locked with the Earth, why isn't Earth (or any of our other solar system's planets) tidally locked to the sun?
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How is it that all planets (and moons) in our solar system are in equilibrium orbits?

Previously, I was told that in order for any bodies to orbit each other for over a long period of time, the orbital period, distance and masses have to be precisely matched such that the bodies won't ...
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635 views

Can a gas giant have an other gas planet as satellite?

Is it possible for a gas giant (A very big one) to have an other smaller gas planet as satellite?
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352 views

Are we sure there are no planets inside Mercury's orbit?

Currently, most explorations about new planets are pointing to area outside Neptune's orbit, but how about inside Mercury orbit? Can we say for certain there are no planets inside Mercury's orbit?
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How long do thunderstorms on Venus last?

A while ago, I learned about field of exometeorology (the study of other planets ' atmospheres) which fascinates me. In particular, I read about thunderstorms on Venus, e.g. about the results from ESA'...
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Do the magnetic fields of stars and/or other planets reverse?

I've heard of the magnetic field of the earth reversing poles over the course of thousands of years but do stars and other planets (specifically gas giants) also experience this? If so how does it ...
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267 views

Saturn's tropical year?

What is the value of Saturn's "tropical year" (as opposed to its "sidereal year"). I am seeing it listed as 10 days shorter (10,747 days) than the sidereal year (10,759.22 days). How could this be ...
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Starting a fire in a cold planet that was full of flammable gas

What would happen to a cold planet that has a large amount of flammable gas, like Neptune, if we throw some fire into it? Will it burn, or would the flame be extinguished due to the cold?
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How is a day measured on a gas giant?

After watching this JPL video of a Cassini time lapse of Saturn, I wondered since being mostly gases, how do we know how long a day—one rotation period—is? Is there a usable relation between how fast ...
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Is the point of this paper to say that Pluto's status as a planet should have been handled scientifically, rather than by a vote?

The abstract of a paper currently in-press in Icarus: The Reclassification of Asteroids from Planets to Non-Planets (Metzger et al. 2018, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2018.08.026) says: It is ...

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