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8
votes
3answers
175k views

Star like light moving in the sky, what could it be? [closed]

I was camping this weekend away from the city, so my friends and I decided to spend one of the nights watching the sky, since it's impossible to see anything around where we live. After a little while,...
24
votes
2answers
2k views

Where can I find/visualize planets/stars/moons/etc positions?

What resources are available to find the positions of planets, stars, moons, artifical satellites, asteroids, and other heavenly bodies?
41
votes
8answers
5k views

What is in the center of the universe?

If the universe has formed & originated by a Big Bang Explosion, then there must be empty space left in the center of the explosion site, as all the matter is travelling at tremendous speeds away ...
12
votes
5answers
6k views

How can the universe be infinite?

I've heard from renowned astrophysicists that we don't yet know whether or not the Universe is infinite. How is that possible regarding the big bang theory is accepted (as they all do)? Are they ...
34
votes
7answers
6k views

Does matter accumulate just outside the event horizon of a black hole?

My understanding is that time slows and approaches stopping when approaching the event horizon of a black hole. I have seen this explained several places, including a brief explanation in the last ...
61
votes
6answers
8k views

Why is only one side of the Moon visible from Earth?

Why do we only ever see the same side of the moon? If this is to do with gravity are there any variables which mean we might one day see more than we have before?
69
votes
1answer
10k views

How can there be 1,000 stellar ancestors before our Sun?

I've heard from a few sources* recently that the Sun is a 1,000th generation star, meaning it had a thousand stars that came before it based on its heavy-element content. I understand that earlier ...
21
votes
3answers
3k views

how far away could we detect that Earth has life?

My guess is that life bearing planets are too far apart to be detected. I think we can only find the ones within a sphere around our planet that is 100s of light years in diameter but I suspect life ...
17
votes
2answers
3k views

Why is the Moon receding from the Earth due to tides? Is this typical for other moons?

After reading the Q&A Is the moon moving further away from Earth and closer to the Sun? Why? about the tides transferring energy to the Moon and pushing it from Earth, I have a question: How is ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

Is it possible that the Sun has a binary partner (the Nemesis Theory) that has eluded detection? [duplicate]

I just recently learned about the theory that our Sun has a small companion star with a 26 million year orbit. This theory came about when it was realized that mass extinction events happened ...
19
votes
3answers
3k views

What is a singularity? What is at the center of a black hole? Specifically regarding space-time

So because I can only really think of space-time in 2-dimensions like a sheet of something, my assumptions might be wrong to begin with. I was watching a YouTube video on black-holes and there was a ...
19
votes
7answers
3k views

Do we know the exact spot where big bang took place?

If you rewind the universe back 14,7 billion years, all matter were in one spot, and then started expanding. Do we know where this is in reference to our own solar system? And is there anything there? ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does a planet rotate and revolve?

Why do planets rotate and revolve in the universe?
6
votes
2answers
282 views

Do astronomers generally agree that the distinction between comets and astroids is not so clear?

edit: I just saw this tweet and find it incredibly relevant :) begin question: First see this answer and then consider if there are known, or likely to be identified cases of solar system bodies that ...
48
votes
5answers
7k views

Why hasn't the “9th Planet” been detected already?

In the comments to this question, there was considerable doubt placed as to the subject of if the so called "9th planet" really exists. That wasn't really the intent of the previous question, so I ask ...
11
votes
1answer
9k views

Line of lights moving in a straight line, with a few following

My husband and I have just seen a line of about 15 lights moving in a straight line, quite high above the cloud level with a gap, and then 5 lights, a gap, another few, a gap, 1 light, a gap, and a ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Need Simple equation for Rise, Transit, and Set time

I've been looking, unsuccessfully, for hours for a simple set of equations: Input: RA and Dec of an object Observers Lat and Lng Current Time Output: Rise Time Transit Time Set Time (and, ...
17
votes
2answers
7k views

Is Sun a part of a binary system?

Does our Sun have a counterpart, i.e., is it a part of a binary-system? If so, how does the other star look like and where is it?
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Cancelling out earth rotation speed, Altazimuth mount

I have a Dobsonian telescope. It is using Altazimuth mount. Basic idea of using it is to target the object by moving telescope vertical axis perpendicular to the ground, and an elevation axis that ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

How can the 13.8 billion years old universe have a radius of 46 billion light years? [duplicate]

The universe is about 13.8 billion years old. Assume at the big-bang it starts from a small region and the maximum possible speed according Einstein is the speed of light how can the universe got a ...
14
votes
2answers
17k views

A good telescope for the viewing of Nebulae, Stars and Planets

So, I am a 15 year old interested in astronomy. My father used to have a reflector telescope, but was never so serious about it that he could recommend me a good telescope. I am looking to buy a ...
28
votes
4answers
9k views

Why do (most of) the planets rotate counterclockwise, i.e. the same way the Sun does?

Referring to the mechanisms explaining the solar system formation and to the initial rotation of the gaseous cloud that collapsed, I understand easily why the planets orbit the Sun the same way this ...
27
votes
3answers
6k views

Why do the planets in our solar system orbit in the same plane?

(Yes I'm excluding Pluto from this the same way it was excluded for not being a planet) Observing the planets orbit of the Sun they all seem relatively planar and roughly all orbit along the same ...
20
votes
2answers
120k views

How much magnification is needed to see planets of solar system?

I have a 3inch Newtonian reflector telescope with 300 mm focal length. I can use highest magnification of 75x using a 4mm eyepiece. But in 75x I can't see the details of Jupiter what was expected. ...
28
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the current accepted theory as to why Venus has a slow retrograde rotation?

According to this NASA overview, the planet Venus is unique (amongst the major planets), Venus has a slow retrograde axial rotation, taking 243 Earth days to make one rotation (which is longer than ...
4
votes
2answers
352 views

How does the Event Horizon Telescope implement the interferometry?

The BBC article Event Horizon Telescope ready to image black hole describes the Event Horizon Telescope, a coordinated observing technique with several radio telescope arrays across the globe forming ...
28
votes
3answers
2k views

Do moons have moons?

Have we discovered any natural satellites of natural satellites of planets or dwarf planets? Even very small, or relatively short-lived - e.g. ringlets around Saturn's moons, some meteorites orbiting ...
23
votes
2answers
10k views

How far is the Earth/Sun above/below the galactic plane, and is it heading toward/away from it?

How far is the Earth/Sun above/below the galactic plane, and is it heading toward/away from it? We know the Sun is orbiting the galactic center every 225 million years. But how far are we from the ...
22
votes
6answers
25k views

What will happen to life on Earth when the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies collide?

It is said that the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies are coming close to each other with a speed of approximately 400000 km/hour. They will be together in the next 4 billion years. What will happen ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

How has the Earth's orbit changed over hundreds of millions or billion of years?

First, I know that modeling orbital mechanics of 8 planets is hard, but there are some theories out there, for example, Jupiter is thought to have moved in towards the sun then started moving away. ...
11
votes
2answers
859 views

Are there any galaxies which fell out of sight horizon due to cosmic expansion?

If farthest galaxies run away from us with acceleration making them exceed speed of light, we should expect them to disappear from sky among time with increasing quantity. Did we observe this? Can we ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there enough hydrogen left after a star dies so another star will have enough to light up?

A star consumes quite a lot of hydrogen in its life, and is pretty much "vacuuming" everything in its vicinity. After it dies (eventually by supernova which will spread all its composition over light ...
22
votes
4answers
5k views

Why is the observable Universe larger than its age would suggest?

The age of the Universe is estimated at 13.8 billion years, and current theory states nothing can exceed the speed of light, which can lead to the incorrect conclusion that the universe can't have a ...
9
votes
2answers
366 views

Why aren't ground-based observatories using adaptive optics for visible wavelengths?

Adaptive Optics (AO) techniques allow ground based observatories to dramatically improve resolution by actively compensating for the effects of Astronomical Seeing. The atmospheric effects are quite ...
7
votes
2answers
460 views

Would Adaptive Optics be Useful in Radio Astronomy?

This Question and Answer got me thinking. If atmospheric seeing at visible wavelengths is the result of refractive index inhomogeneity, would it also be a similar problem for mm to cm wavelengths? ...
15
votes
3answers
7k views

Maximum spin rate of a black hole?

I have just been watching a podcast called "Deep Astronomy" and the discussion was about a super fast spinning black hole discovered with the NuSTAR space observatory. This black hole was modeled with ...
25
votes
6answers
4k views

Is the influence of gravity instantaneous?

When I was in college, I posed to my astronomy professor a thought experiment that had been puzzling my mind for some time: "If all the matter in the Sun magically disappeared instantly, how long ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Will we start seeing galaxies disappear due to Universe expansion? [duplicate]

Does the fact that universe is currently expanding at an accelerating rate means that far far away objects (FAO) might start disappearing with time, set aside the "red shift"? I'm saying this ...
18
votes
3answers
4k views

What exactly is the “paradox” in Olber's Paradox?

To the extent of my understanding, Olber’s paradox states that if the universe was static and homogeneous, we should see a star at every point in the night sky and therefore the night sky should be ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

Does the Sun turn around a big star?

The Moon orbits the Earth. The Earth orbits the Sun. Does the Sun orbit another bigger star? If so, does this star orbit, in turn, a very big star? ... etc ... What are all the intermediate ...
8
votes
1answer
434 views

Collision of 2 black holes

There is a large number of visible Supernovas. Each week - about a 20 Supernovas Type 1a around the Universe. Is there collisions of Black Holes? What is this collision called? E.g. 2 black holes ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Are there accurate equinox and solstice predictions for the distant past?

I am trying to find information on the equinox/solstice dates before 1600, more exactly referring up to 10,000 BCE so as to create a sort of calculator on an Excel spreadsheet. I have read about the ...
5
votes
2answers
808 views

Is our universe included inside a black hole?

This question repetitively comes to my mind but I've never found any good scientist article to argue about it, only esoteric or speculative web articles without much valuable background. So let's ...
5
votes
1answer
275 views

Collision with Andromeda Galaxy

According to Hubble's law, the universe is expanding and this expansion is proportional to distance between the two objects and thus objects are moving away at a very fast rate, then why is it ...
20
votes
1answer
12k views

Is the moon moving further away from Earth and closer to the Sun? Why?

According to The NASA Moon Facts page: The moon is actually moving away from earth at a rate of 1.5 inches per year. Why is the moon moving further away from the Earth? Is this a result of the ...
13
votes
1answer
3k views

Why is the solar system often shown as a 2D plane?

Whenever I have learned about the solar system I always see the orbits displayed as a virtually flat plane. Are all of the orbits in the solar system really like this? If so, why? It seems like a ...
12
votes
4answers
9k views

What is the minimum mass required so that objects become spherical due to its own gravity?

Is this minimum mass known? or maybe, is it given in terms of density? If so, how much density is the minimum to have an spherical object due to its own gravity?
3
votes
1answer
214 views

What is the highest granularity focal-plane array on a dish radio telescope? Or is this the ONLY ONE?

There is a short Wikipedia article Focal Plane Arrays that enumerates some projects, but my question is more along the lines of what is (at least) nearly complete or in "first light" phase, even if ...
51
votes
4answers
32k views

How many planets are there in this solar system?

So, in school (that's a long time age) they have been teaching us there are 9 planets in our solar system. Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto But every now and then I keep ...
38
votes
5answers
2k views

How are black holes found?

Black holes have so much gravity that even light can't escape from them. If we can't see them, and the suck up all electromagnetic radiation, then how can we find them?

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