Questions tagged [solar-system]

Questions regarding the Sun and objects orbiting it.

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What is the typical chemical composition of the most common asteroid types?

I'm trying to make a semi-scientific accurate game where you can find/mine asteroids. I want the composition of asteroids, and how common they are to be correct. Or at least as close to correct as ...
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What's the difference between semi-major axis and apoapsis?

The semi-major axis is half of the diameter of the major axis of an ellipse by definition. So how does that make it any different from apoapsis, the furthest point an object is from a parent body in ...
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Delay of Moon passing a defined meridian each day

On the website Lunar Synodic Curve a nice image of an Moon analemma is shown together with an explantion on the reason why for the different phases of the Moon the images have to be taken with 24h ...
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Could Planet Nine be much smaller than thought previously?

In 2016, Caltech astronomers began testing a Planet Nine hypothesis to explain the eccentric and inclined orbits of distant dwarf planets such as Sedna, 2015 TG387, Niku, and 2012 VP113. The ...
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Why do CME's “zig-zag” on their way to Earth?

This answer to When a coronal mass ejection (CME) hits a spacecraft, from which direction will the particles come? states: A single CME will impact a spacecraft from only one direction, but that ...
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How long is the Sun closer to Earth then Mars is?

A recent question at Space.se has generated a few comments that are interesting. But the answer to one particular comment to might address a lot of misconceptions. I imagine the actual halfway ...
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what is the resolution of the magnitude that is distinguishable to the naked eye?

Or is it possible to spot the changing brightness (magnitude) of a planet with a naked eye The context of the question is this: If I'm not mistaken Ptolemy was able to say (using observation alone) ...
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Can we use Breakthrough Starshot spacecraft to detect any unknown massive object in our solar system?

For example, the hypothetical Planet Nine. Since we just want to prove or rule out the existence of Planet Nine in our solar system, we can avoid most of the technical challenges for StarChip (camera ...
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131 views

What is the distance between the solar systems towards the center of galaxy?

The distance from our Solar System to the nearest is roughly 260,000 AU. I am wondering what is the minimum distance between two Solar Systems. Since the center of our galaxy is supposed to be more ...
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Does plasma recombination in the solar wind happen to any significant or measurable degree?

Comments below this answer to Why does the Solar Wind consist of charged particles? have led me to ask the following: Question: Does plasma recombination in the solar wind happen to any significant ...
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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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Can fish and other sea creatures survive in watery planets like Neptune or any other planets that has water?

I'm a bit curious since Neptune does not have a land surface and it is covered with water, I mean water has oxygen right? What will happen if we put some sea creatures in these watery planets? Can ...
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How was Cassini able to measure and use the Earth-Mars distance to get the Earth-Sun distance?

How was Cassini able to measure and use he distance between Earth and Mars to get the Earth-Sun distance? How were the ratios of Earth-Mars and Earth-Sun calculated then? Given Kepler's laws all we ...
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How would a small nearby black hole be detected and confirmed as such?

This article suggests that there might be a tennis ball-sized black hole orbiting the Sun somewhere beyond the orbit of Neptune. According to the article, observational anomalies of trans-Neptunian ...
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How do we know Nemesis is not a black hole (or neutron star)?

Nemesis, the hypothetical "death star", is supposed to be a massive body that orbits the Sun at long distances and periodically sends comets from the Oort Cloud into the inner solar system. These ...
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Estimate prevalence of ʻOumuamua-style interstellar obects inside Jupiter orbit now that C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) is found?

Now we know two of them, so maybe it's not an outlier. We have two points so we can draw a line. How many similar macroscopic objects should be zipping through space at ~30 km/sec so that we would ...
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Where would an object fly to if it were to leave the gravitational field of Earth? And would it stop somewhere? What would happen to it?

My 3,5 year old son is asking :-) He can take answers for a 15 yo I think. Many thanks for your help!
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Are there any planets or objects orbiting in Goldilocks zone?

I was wondering whether there were any objects that orbit the "goldilocks zone" besides our home planet earth, and how the goldilocks zone of our solar system is defined.
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What is wrong with this measurement of the synodic period of Mercury?

I'm measuring the synodic period of Mercury using Stellarium. When measuring the synodic period one needs to choose a reference point to start the measurement, and I choose the point when Mercury is ...
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Textbook to explain measurements and calculations for heliocentric solar system

I'm trying to identify a textbook I had briefly and then lost. I had a PDF file of an astronomy textbook, but the hard drive crashed irreparably before I could thoroughly read the textbook, or even ...
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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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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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View of other planets from the Earth

There appears to be varying positions/spots of view of other planets from Earth, if I'm not wrong. Now, given that all planets are on the same plane, why do their positions change on the night sky for ...
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How thick was Earth's primordial atmosphere?

Earth's first atmosphere was made of hydrogen and helium accumulated before fusion started in the Sun. As soon as this happened it was stripped away by the Sun. How many atm of hydrogen and helium had ...
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157 views

When was it realised that most major moons orbit in the equatorial plane of their parent planets?

Inspired by the discussion of the moons of Uranus providing a clue to the planet's axis of rotation in this question, I'm wondering when it was realised that the major satellites are typically located ...
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Tycho Brahe's model

Tycho Brahe made a model of universe where earth is at the centre and motionless whereas all other planet orbited around the sun. I am interested to know how he came to this model? If it is because of ...
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How young could the asteroid belt be?

I heard a theory (possibly from a crackpot) that there was an event in our solar system where two objects collided and created the asteroid belt, the orbits of some of the planets were altered, and ...
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247 views

How long would it take for a black hole the mass of our sun to swallow our solar system?

If a hypothetical black hole with the mass of our sun would appear in place of the sun. How long would it take before our entire solar system (everything inside our heliosphere) to be swallowed by ...
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Any studies of the detection of dark matter in or near the solar system?

Has there been any theoretical or observational study of the possibility of detecting "local dark matter", either within the solar system or near the Sun in interstellar space? If so, what methods ...
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547 views

What would happen if a Sun-like star were to consume a Jupiter-like planet?

A substantial number of discovered exoplanet systems are likely contain more than one gas giant with distances far closer to the star than in our solar system. It is known that in solar system ...
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Why aren't globular clusters disk-shaped? [duplicate]

I thought that solar systems and galaxies are disk-shaped because that is the most stable shape under gravitation. Globular clusters are very old, often times older than their host galaxies, so why ...
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273 views

Could the solar system survive in a void?

If the solar system were suddenly placed in the middle of a large void... would everything still function as normal? Would we even notice any difference here on Earth apart from the night sky? ......
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What keeps the planets of the solar system moving in their fixed orbits?

Models of the solar system show each planet moving around on its own orbit. Is is really because of the Sun that every planets remains in its own fixed orbit?
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How to calculate the orientation of planets at current epoch

For an application I am working on I am creating a simulation of the solar system. In this simulation, a user needs to be able to 'move' to any position on any planet, and have the sky be accurately ...
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Why do things float in space, though the gravity of our star is always present? [closed]

In the solar system, things float around. We are so certain that the gravity of our sun exists. Still, why does that gravity not influence satellites and other objects there? Our solar system is also ...
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Why didn't all the iron and heavier elements find their way to the center of the accretion disc in the early solar system?

I guess that's pretty much it. I just heard that that a meteor fragment was found to be solid iron and it just seems inexplicable that it was floating around.
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Origin of heavier elements on earth?

Earth is part of Solar system, which is said to have originated from condensation and mutual attraction in dense clouds of gasses and dust. If Sun is basically more than ninty percent hydrogen and ...
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How much difference did the supply of “fresh” r-process elements make to the Solar System.?

In one of the answers to this question @MartinKochanski made the interesting point that the abundance of elements heavier than iron (r-process elements) in the solar system is probably due to a fairly ...
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Can we detect the wobble of neighbouring stars around their barycenters?

The wobble of a star around its barycenter is interesting (the wobble caused by the pull of the rest of the solar-system on the sun). This question explains why we don't see this wobble from within ...
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Are these real paths of planets as traced from Earth?

Few days a go, I came across these two pictures of paths of planets as observed from Earth. They have a perfect geometric shapes. Actually, to me they look so beautiful and perfect, that they appear ...
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How would the combined masses of the Centaurs or the scattered disk compare to the combined mass of the asteroid belt?

I'm interested in finding the combined mass of the Centaurs and the scattered disk. I looked around but I wasn't able to find any estimates. This seems to suggest that either the combined masses of ...
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216 views

South of the tropics, where does the sun's noon shadow point?

If I understand correctly, in countries to the north of the tropics the sun's noon shadow points north. What happens south of the tropics? Is it pointing south?
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If gravity precedes the formation of a solar system, where did the mass come from that caused the gravity?

In my class we are studying objects in our solar system and this question seemed to just pop up. And since I cannot answer this, I've been really frustrated for quite a while now and would like some ...
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Does any asteroid we have ever seen have a hot core like earth.?

I was wondering if any of the asteroids we have ever seen has a hot core like Earth's. I'm thinking that Earth has a strong gravitational field and so formation would have involved a lot of ...
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266 views

Adjective for things outside our solar system

I know we have "exoplanets" etc. but those are nouns for specific objects outside our solar system. We have extraterrestrial for objects outside Earth's atmosphere, but I don't know if we have a ...
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How could a supernova seed solar nebula?

If the heavier elements such as Uranium came from a supernova, then this supernova had to sit somewhere right in the middle of the original solar nebula, because although the ejected matter traveled ...
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Why do planets and satellites in the Solar system look so wildly different if they came from more or less the same matter?

First, the planets. We have Mercury, which is rocky, no atmosphere. But then we have Venus, which is completely different: thick atmosphere, very hot, geologically active. Then Earth - blue, full of ...
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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 ...
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320 views

Can Earth be ejected out of the solar system this way?

I found this image of what maybe a model of our solar system. Without a credible source I'm not sure I am looking at a star or black hole that comes close to our solar system and how it could throw ...
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First observation that the Sun and Jupiter (and friends) move around a common barycenter?

Answers to the question How did Kepler determine the orbital period of Mars? describing careful observations centuries ago got me thinking. What was the first analysis of observations that directly ...

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