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Questions tagged [astronomy]

For questions related to planets, moons, stars and other celestial objects, and their motion on the sky.

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475 views

Could a brown dwarf in our outer solar system remain undetected today?

We've all heard the on-again, off-again theories of another massive object in the vast reaches of the outer solar system. Some potential evidence to support the possibility are its affects on smaller ...
7
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1answer
84 views

Visibility of a Red Dwarf Companion Star

An interstellar traveller stands upon the surface of an alien planet beneath the light of an unfamiliar sun. The planet upon which he stands orbits one star of a binary system in which one is a G-...
14
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4answers
5k views

Would mining huge amounts of resources on the Moon change its orbit?

Imagine that humanity builds mining facilities on the moon. We know that the moon has Helium-3 which could be used as fuel for fusion reactors. Also, there are a lot of other resources which could be ...
7
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4answers
97 views

Light spectrum from a red dwarf star on a planet with an ozone and cloudy atmosphere

What light spectrum would hit the surface of a planet orbiting a red dwarf star? The planet has a humid, greenhouse, & cloudy atmosphere, and a strong ozone, 80%+ surface water. Planet is ...
6
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2answers
184 views

Black hole collides with Sun: How rapidly is energy released?

Basic idea: Primordial black hole (2.5% of Sun's mass) directly approaches Sun at fairly rapid pace (300 km/s). Consequently, six days after passing Earth's orbit, it will collide with the Sun; ...
9
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1answer
184 views

To make a blue moon, what element does it need?

We know that Mars has a reddish color, because its ground consists of iron-based compounds. The moon is grey-whiteish because it consists mostly of silicon-based compounds. What element should the ...
3
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2answers
103 views

Is there a plausible causal mechanism to explain why the Sun would be heating up faster/ sooner than we thought?

I am writing a novel about what it will be like on earth 500 or so years before the death of our Sun. The Sun is heating up gradually and one day that will negatively affect life on Earth. I know that ...
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1answer
280 views

In a world with 12 moons but NO sun, how to define a day? [closed]

I made the map of my fantasy world before thinking about the physics, as you can see bellow the art! I'm interested to understand how to decide which moon is in the sky at a given moment, if it's ...
13
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18answers
4k views

How can a moon have an ever-changing face?

Imagine an inhabitated planet like ours with a moon of the same projected size in the sky. The moon has visible structures of colors or darker and lighter areas. Every evening when the moon gets ...
4
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2answers
196 views

How much heat would a 1km asteroid release into earth's atmosphere?

I am writing a theory for a game that is in an apocalypse. An asteroid is heading for earth and will crash into the earth regardless in this theory. It is 1km in size but due to the YORP effect it has ...
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vote
1answer
204 views

Is it possible to divert a 1km Asteroid from Earth?

I am writing a scenario for a game that I am a fan of. It involves an asteroid heading for impact with the Earth in 2027. This asteroid's initial diameter is about 1km, but it is slowly disintegrating ...
25
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13answers
6k views

How can a planet have a deadly eclipse-like “spotlight”?

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun. The result is a giant shadow that sweeps across the Earth's surface. This world has the opposite phenomenon. Instead of a ...
7
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10answers
273 views

Plausible reasons for multiple hot seasons in one solar year

Setup: A planet generally with an earthlike climate, although slightly wetter and warmer as a general rule, with a little more oxygen in the atmosphere, but habitable by unmodified humans. Still has ...
12
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4answers
2k views

How close could another solar system be without adversely affecting our own?

I would like to know how close two planetary systems could be without having an adverse effect on each other. My goal is to drastically improve the chances of having habitable planets near enough that ...
5
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4answers
140 views

Small eclipse on earth

Could one make a smaller eclipse kept stationary on the surface of the earth in order that one may be able to see the stars 24/7 from one site? How could this be achieved? Geostationary satellite ...
60
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24answers
12k views

How could a planet have a sky without stars at night?

Is it possible for a planet in our part of the galaxy to have a night without stars? I'm looking for some kind of natural phenomena that would hide the stars, but allow the sun to rise and fall as ...
6
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1answer
345 views

Does my plot point centered around eclipses make sense?

My main antagonist is an infant Great One that's been imprisoned below the Moon's surface and I want its influence and physical form to have a weakness to direct sunlight which, I think, gives me a ...
23
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6answers
2k views

Scientific explanation for a exceptionally bright night sky

On an alternative Earth live the people of Tcelonia. One of their founding myths goes that, in the dawn of times, when they were under the menace of being attacked by an enemy population, for an ...
34
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11answers
5k views

What's an astronomical event which happened about 10,000 years ago, which humans could have noticed?

Bob is older than he looks. Specifically, even though Bob looks like he's in his twenties or thirties (it's hard to tell), he was actually born in Europe about ten thousand years ago, long before the ...
6
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2answers
335 views

How far out can a pre-telescope human society (naked eye observations only) detect planets?

There are many questions on WBSE that cover most aspects of building a planetary system. (some examples below): Creating a realistic world(s) map - planetary systems How many planets should I have ...
7
votes
2answers
140 views

Let's float an island on an astrophysical jet

An astrophysical jet is a stream of particles emitted by matter falling into an supermassive star/black hole, travelling at up to 80% the speed of light. A troll with a portal gun (which places ...
5
votes
2answers
103 views

Naturally maintaining an atmosphere being stripped by a brown dwarf‘s magnetosphere

In this scenario we have a brown dwarf with a powerful magnetic dynamo from metallic hydrogen. The magnetic field is modeled after Jupiter’s but just three orders of magnitude more powerful. ...
5
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1answer
164 views

Explaining a Low-Mass Brown Dwarf

Considering the well-established relationships between stellar mass, surface temp, and luminosity, how unusual would it be to find a star (or brown dwarf) that possesses about half the mass of an ...
9
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2answers
347 views

A supermassive black hole is coming our way. When's the latest that we would notice?

I'm trying to build a story around a supermassive black hole, which is ejected from a merger of two galaxies, that is hurtling our own way. What is the smallest realistic distance at which the black ...
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1answer
123 views

Estimates for undetectable planets in extra-solar systems [closed]

Based on answers and comments on some previous questions (especially this one), and as very clearly illustrated by the scatter-plot here, there are some very definite limitations on our ability to ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

Can a 15km, rapidly-spining asteroid go undiscovered until the asteroid belt is being actively explored?

What I want to know is if an asteroid about 15 KM in diameter and roughly double that in length, spinning at a significant speed, could go undiscovered until a crew of an asteroid mining ship happened ...
3
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3answers
202 views

Could a comet cool down global tempatures? [duplicate]

In warlords I wanted Terrans to have a fad of big (synthetic) fur jackets, but I didn't want too have everyone running around in winter clothing for no good reason so the solution my mind instantly ...
5
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4answers
307 views

What requires more destructive energy? Destroying a planet or splitting a planet in half

I just wanna ask which option requires more destructive energy? Option 1 : destroying a planet like earth to rubble (tiny pieces of rocks) Or Option 2: splitting a planet like earth in halves (2 ...
4
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2answers
93 views

What are some plausible formation explanations of a non-hot “Fluffy” Gas Giant planet?

So, in my research and preparation for the question I asked immediately before this one, I was introduced to the concept of "fluffy" gas giants, gas giants with significantly lower density than would ...
3
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1answer
348 views

Feasible star + planet + moon combo? Did I miss anything that makes this system wildly unstable or otherwise impossible?

Here's what I've come up with: The star: A main sequence star, roughly a sol analogue Younger than Sol (say 3-3.5 billion years old) roughly the same starting mass as Sol, but has had less time to ...
6
votes
1answer
324 views

Could [life on] Earth Survive a Gamma Ray Burst?

[EDIT: this question is about life on Earth surviving, not the physical destruction of the planet] Could the Earth survive a gamma ray burst if that burst occurred in our galaxy and the Earth is in ...
9
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8answers
2k views

What is our planetary defense capability against an Earth life destroying object?

This is World Building through a preventative measure. The Earth has been destroyed a few times in the past and it will happen again in the future, it is just a matter of time. For the first time in ...
3
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2answers
63 views

Opaque Solar Shield in Geosynchronous Orbit: Plausibility + Challenges of Maintaining Orbit

Suppose humans of the late 21st century or beyond began constructing a solar shield as a solution to climate change. Suppose for some reason (open to suggestions) they choose to build the shield in ...
4
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2answers
133 views

Editable map of local stars

I'm looking for a map of stars within a few hundred LY of the Sun. I'd like to be able to add text tags to stars, so I can name them within my SF universe. Then I'd like to be able to rotate the image ...
5
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6answers
252 views

What sort of setup of a binary star system would allow only one sun to be “up” at a time?

I have a sci-fi/fantasy world with two suns. Only one sun can be present in the sky at a time. A full day-night cycle would be: Night time Sun 1 rises Sun 1 sets Sun 2 rises Sun 2 sets Night time Is ...
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3answers
180 views

Are there any plausible 'alternative' methods of planetary formation?

The selected answer on this question provides an extremely good, and detailed, description of what is generally accepted to be the main (only?) way a terrestrial planet can form, i.e. through ...
4
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2answers
480 views

What would happen if a little less than half of the moon crashed into the Atlantic ocean? [duplicate]

Let's say an asteroid hit the moon and broke it in half. One half remains where the moon usually is relative to Earth, and the other half is flung at Earth near the equator, in the Atlantic ocean. ...
43
votes
11answers
9k views

How long will it take to discover they live on a moon and not on a planet?

In my alternate reality, Earth is not a planet. It is a moon and orbits a gas giant (however it has all of Earth's characteristics, it is also full of humans and life as we know it). This is the only ...
10
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1answer
128 views

Increased Luminosity in Stars

I'm trying to construct a solar system, and I'm toying with the idea that the planet capable of sustaining life was initially outside of the habitable zone, but the star's advanced age has caused the ...
1
vote
1answer
146 views

Big moon, small planet - can an earth sized moon orbit a moon sized planet?

I know that objects with lower mass tends to orbit objects with higher mass, is it possible to have a Moon sized planet who's mass is so heavy that an Earth sized planet orbit it as it's Moon in a ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I locate myself in a random point of space?

Some Context I'm creating a universe where humanity has reached the stars. They've colonized a few star systems and, obviously, FTL drives are a common thing. They basically jump you to another ...
0
votes
4answers
119 views

How to determine the shape of the world given that there are no astronomical cycles?

Inspired by this question, how might one determine the shape of the world given a cosmology with no cycles? The moon, sun, stars, and planets are all fixed. The Earth does not rotate. You can't ...
6
votes
2answers
108 views

How to distinguish the different phases of the day when the sun rises and sets multiple times?

Obviously there would be a lot of small (not to mention a couple large) changes humans would need to get used to on a planet that rotates much faster than Earth. The biggest one I’m concerned about ...
5
votes
1answer
116 views

Is it possible an ice line from pole to pole in a tidally locked Earth-like moon?

I am aware that there are a lot of answers explaining the fundamentals of a tidally locked "Earth-like" moon around a giant gas planet. For example this one: Habitable moon of a gas giant: working out ...
10
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8answers
802 views

Which part of the universe would make celestial navigation most difficult for a planet?

Premise I envisage a world of would-be navigators with roughly Bronze Age technology, sailing on ships to explore their planet. In contrast to our history of navigation where we "cracked the code" ...
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3answers
72 views

How can I modern time traveler determine solstice and equinox?

A XX century researcher time traveled back into the prehistory. He is not in danger of death or anything, but he has only energy to attempt one jump. He must jump back during the sunrise either in a ...
10
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3answers
383 views

How can the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram be used in star building?

As you can probably guess from the title, I have some questions about the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram, especially how to use it to make plausible stars. Some questions: Can stars exist in the black ...
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7answers
7k views

How would skeptics know that a single-engine plane could not destroy a falling meteor?

So I'm writing a story and decided to use Hida Furukawa as the location. It has a high school with a field of 650 ft that theoretically could be used for a small aircraft to be use to take off. In the ...
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3answers
115 views

Weather among the average tropical coastal regions? (I can't be more specific than this since i lack a map, I apologize) [closed]

I have a super-earth world. The surface of the world is shallower due to extra gravity, so shorter mountain ranges and less ocean depths. The world orbits a binary star system at a distance of the ...
4
votes
4answers
206 views

Changing Earth's axis suddenly or gradually?

First post, if it isn't completely obvious. I've discovered this site by trying to "google" that question. Here's what I'm investigating: Long ago, pre-deluvian civilizations built ancient megalithic ...