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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812 views

How would we detect a planet behind the Sun?

Let's assume hypothetically that Earth has a twin planet on the opposite side of Earth's orbit. Its orbital period would be exactly the same as Earth's and it would always be behind the Sun so ...
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Inclination of planets

Why do the planets have roughly the same inclination with respect to Earth? Looking at the inclinations, which I got from http://www.astronomynotes.com/tables/tablesb.htm, we see that Mercury has ...
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Which lens and magnification is best to see planets?

I just bought a Celestron Travel Scope 70 and it comes with a 20mm and a 10mm eyepiece. I get a good view of the Moon but I am not able to see Jupiter, Saturn or Mars as expected. I read about the ...
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Has any moon achieved "retrograde equatorial orbit"?

There are many moons which have low (almost negligible) inclination and can be considered to rotate at the planet's equatorial plane. For instance, Galilean moons have almost negligible inclination (&...
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Is it coincident that all planets with tight orbit are tidally locked to their parent body?

I know mercury is tidal locked to our Sun like our Moon is to Earth, is it merely coincident or there is some sciences behind it? Some man-made communication satellites are also tidal locked to Earth! ...
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Who gets to name Planet Nine if it is confirmed?

According to Wikipedia, "On 20 January 2016, researchers Konstantin Batygin and Michael E. Brown at Caltech announced calculation-based evidence of a massive ninth planet in the Solar System." If ...
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1answer
338 views

At high temperatures, do planets glow like blackbodies?

I've been messing around in Universe Sandbox for a while and noticed that as a planet heats up, it glows like a blackbody starting at ~4000 K. Is the simulation here accurate, or do very hot planets ...
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431 views

Can a habitable planet be smaller than 0.58 Earth radii?

According to the below image, the lowest escape velocity a planet can have in order to still be able to retain water on its surface and have a temperature above freezing is 6.5 km/s minimum. With ...
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Currently proposed ways to distinguish between a really big planet and a really small star

The Next Big Future article Rogue Exoplanet 12.7 times bigger than Jupiter is 20 light years away Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) have made ...
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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 ...
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If a person were to die on the Moon or Mars, would the body decompose?

There wouldn't be enough oxygen for any bacteria to decompose the body, right? Not to mention, the radiation of space might kill off most organisms on it. So would it decompose, given millions of ...
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Calculating RA/dec from JPL ephemeris data

I'm using JPL planetary ephemerides to calculate the position of planets. Using DE405 ephemeris (using a parser provided by Project Pluto with all tests passing). I am fetching the position of Mars ...
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854 views

Is Mercury's core liquid?

A very basic question, but one to which I keep finding different answers: does Mercury have a liquid core, or is it all solid? Whatever the reason, what are the causes of it being so?
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How frequently are other planets in the Solar system hit by meteorites?

How frequently are other planets in the Solar system hit by meteorites? For example, is the rate per unit area about the same?
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what determines the density of atmospheres

What factors determine the atmospheric density on various planets and moons? Some larger bodies have less dense atmospheres, while some smaller ones have a more dense atmosphere.
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Is there any difference among exoplanets in composition due to host star?

Simply put, would, say, rocky planets orbiting red dwarfs have a noticably different chemical makeup than rocky planets orbiting B-type main sequence stars? Mutatis mutandis gas giants and the other ...
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353 views

White dwarf's impact on orbiting bodies

Recently the Kepler telescope in its study of white dwarfs detected the first planetary object transiting a white dwarf in the data from the K2 mission. It was consistent with earlier theories' ...
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505 views

What causes the aurora of other planets to have different colors?

All I could come up with is it depends on the atmospheric composition of the planet as they will interact with the charged solar particles which might be true but is there is there a definite reason ...
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955 views

What is the orientation of planetary orbits?

I'm working on a planetary motion simulator. I've been working through the equations anomaly, eccentricity, etc. The one thing I'm curious about is if all the ellipses are oriented the exact same way (...
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Can moons exist inside a planet's roche limit?

Saturn's rings are inside its own Roche Limit - the limit beyond which bodies start disintegrating due to the tidal forces of the parent body. But as every rock in the ring can be regarded as a ...
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392 views

If Jupiter and Saturn were considered stars, which of their moons would qualify as planets by 'clearing the neighbourhood'?

Jupiter has four and Saturn seven spherical satellites. Jupiter's moon Ganymede and Saturn's Titan are larger than Mercury and they're the most massive moons at 0.0248 M♁ (Ganymede) and 0.0225 M♁ (...
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What colours can rocky planets (or moons) have

I am currently working on a simple program to randomly generate and display rocky exoplanets (for a space based strategy game), but I am having some problems figuring out what colour the rocks of ...
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What good evidence exists for the 9th planet as spoken of by Caltech?

I'm sure Caltech has answered this in some way, but I think it's a good question have on this site. What good evidence exists for the 9th planet as spoken of by Caltech? As I see it, Caltech has ...
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368 views

Is extraterrestrial mining more difficult or impractical for bodies without plate tectonics?

This article talks about the possibility of mining Uranium on the moon. Since the Moon lacks the geological forces that have created veins of concentrated minerals on Earth, would extraterrestrial ...
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Is there a web service providing orbital data of solar bodies (planets, comets, asteroids, dwarf planets)?

I would like to be able to connect to a web-service and retrieve JSON data containing information on current (as of today or so) orbits of planets, comets, asteroids, and dwarf planets in our solar ...
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How could a captured asteroid enter a circularized orbit?

Ok, the simple answer would be through gravity assists from moons, taking a ballistic capture orbit into a circular orbit. I am wondering the chances of a ballistic orbit becoming a stable (on the ...
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1answer
478 views

Planets positions (azimuth, altitude) API

I'm looking for a simple API that will allow me to get positions of planets and the moon for a given date, location and time. Does anyone know an API like that? Any suggestions or alternatives would ...
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Why would tidal forces on planets become more intense when a star becomes a white dwarf?

I was puzzled by this press release by the Royal Astronomical Society: "Small, hardy planets most likely to survive death of their stars" - phys.org, May 14, 2019 Astrophysicists from the Warwick ...
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254 views

What method is used to calculate the 'quality' of a solar/planetary image?

What sort of algorithm is used to calculate the relative quality of an image, such as is performed by PIPP, Registax, or Avistack? Such applications take planetary or solar images and prior to ...
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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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Lack of planets in the Oort Cloud

With the current news about the possibility of a planet in the Oort cloud, I was thinking, why is the matter in the Oort cloud distributed so? It makes sense that inside the planet region there is not ...
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546 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!
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Electrical potential difference between planets

In dealing with electricity, we usually refer to Earth as the electrical neutral or ground. Is there any evidence that other planets' ground is at the same electrical potential level as the Earth's? ...
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Clearing the Neighbourhood: Definition of 'Orbital Region'?

I am trying to determine how wide a 'neighbourhood' a planet is expected to clear. However, the Wikipedia article on the matter provides no clarity, simply stating that a planet is expected to clear ...
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Do other planets with a magnetic field also have two Van Allen belts?

On Jupiter and Saturn, aurora is seen around the planet's poles, so that implies that there must be a kind of magnetic field around those planets. Perhaps even the moon Europa could have a magnetic ...
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Image sets for testing stacking algorithms?

I am looking for sets of astronomical images for testing different kinds of stacking algorithms. The idea is simple: if one has $N$ images of the same object, the signal-to-noise ratio of the ...
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How do we not know what's in the Solar System? [duplicate]

It seems every once in a while there's a claim of a new planet in the Solar System. I don't understand how local planets can stay undiscovered for this long when astronomers are accomplishing what ...
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Why do stars twinkle but planets don't [duplicate]

Many people say that stars twinkle because of Earth's atmosphere. However, the atmosphere is still there when we look at planets and don't see they twinkling. Is there a clear scientific consensual ...
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What planet is better than earth to infer solar system configuration?

The mankind had to work some centuries to infer the real configuration of solar system, starting from greeks, Ptolemeus, until Copernicus, Galilei, Kepler, Newton etc. Is there any planet where we ...
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352 views

Confirm: We can only notice planets if their orbit passes in front of their star and our view

If we can tell a planet exists by the dimming of the brightness of a star when it passes in front of our view of the star does that mean we cannot see a planet if it does not cross in front of our ...
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514 views

Which is the largest planet ever observed?

I don't know much about planets outside our solar system. Do we even know the limit of the size of how large a planet or satellite can be? The largest planet I know of is Jupiter, but could there be ...
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How long would it take a Boeing 747 to go around Jupiter?

Assuming a 747 could fly around Jupiter at its top Earth speed (I know this assumption is unrealistic), how long would it take to fly around Jupiter once?
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Why do the gas giants in the Solar System have comparatively large orbits compared to the inner planets?

Ever since I observed the depictions of the Solar System, I was obsessed with the question of why the gas giants (outer planets) have very large orbits, compared to the planets that are closer to the ...
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242 views

Are there any simulations of the Grand tack?

The BBC program with Brian Cox "The Planets" involved some description of the Grand Tack hypothesis to explain the current state of the solar system. This theory has Jupiter wandering through the ...
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Why can we see the Pillars of Creation, but not Proxima B?

I was wondering how is it that we can see the Pillars of Creation (I know they're no longer there too) which are labeled as 6,500 light years away from earth and yet Proxima B is labeled at just 4.2 ...
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Moons with synchronous rotation in our solar system

Are all moons in our solar system rotating synchronously around their planet? If not, what are the criteria that some do and some don't? Many thanks for any insights!
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When was the concept of rogue planets first theorized?

So after watching the Kurzgesagt video about life on rogue planets I became fascinated by the concept. I did some digging, and the earliest reference to the concept I could find was Philip Wylie's ...
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Trisolar syzygy and it's effects on the planet

Slightly spoilers here, but in the novel The Three-Body Problem, there's a scene in which Civilization #184 is destroyed by the stacked gravitational attraction of the planet's (aptly named Trisolaris)...
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When did astronomy first discover that the stars are bigger than the moon?

We take it for granted these days that the stars are unimaginably bigger than the planets and the moons. But when you look at the sky, it does not appear this way. The moon looks bigger and brighter ...
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If an earthquake happens on Mars, is it still an earthquake?

Or are seismic phenomenon named differently when they happen on other celestial bodies? If so, what are they called?

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