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Questions tagged [stellar-atmospheres]

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Does the Sun's atmosphere have a scale height?

Much of the Earth's atmosphere has a scale height $h$ of roughly 7 to 8 kilometers such that the local density varies as $\exp(-(r-r_0)/h)$ where r is the radius vector and $r_0$ would be some ...
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1answer
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What was the “optical illusion” that led to erroneous metal concentrations in stellar atmospheres in the galactic center?

Articles summarizing a recent result about certain heavy element concentrations in stars near the galactic center all say that earlier reports about high levels in stellar atmospheres were the product ...
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Why does Gaia use only calcium NIR lines for stellar radial velocity measurements?

I was reading this overview article about the Gaia spacecraft and I saw the following statement: These spectra provide radial velocity information that are used to study the kinematic and dynamic ...
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How can neutron stars have gaseous atmospheres?

Neutron stars can have small atmospheres. However, they also have extremely strong gravitationally pulls. Shouldn't the all the gas molecules be drawn to the star's surface, and become solids under ...
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2answers
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What happens to oxygen produced on the Sun (or other stars)?

Through nuclear fusion, the Sun can (or at the very least, someday will) produce atoms of all elements up to and including oxygen. And in terrestrial chemistry at least, when you combine oxygen, ...
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Why do we not find larger quantities of helium in the Sun's atmosphere?

The Sun currently shines because H is being burned to He, and it has been doing this for about 4.57 Ga. But when we analyze the Sun's atmosphere, we do not find unusually large amounts of He. Why not?
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2answers
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How does one determine the effective temperature of a star from its spectrum?

Determining effective temperature of a star is in general a non-trivial task. Simple reason for this is that we can only study the electromagnetic radiation from a star, but not the temperature ...
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2answers
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How well can we in principle determine $T_{\textrm{eff}}$ of a star?

This is a question about the basics of astronomy, which I have never happened to see a good discussion for. It is about how well would we be able to measure effective temperature of a star, if we had ...