Follow the reluctant adventures in the life of a Welsh astrophysicist sent around the world for some reason, wherein I photograph potatoes and destroy galaxies in the name of science. And don't forget about my website,

Monday 9 July 2018

Ask An Astronomer Anything At All About Astronomy (XLVI)

Yeah, I know, these aren't updated very much. I think I have to change the schedule as weekends are seldom available to update things these days. Still, it's not like there's been an absence of questions ! Here's a round-up of the last few months (I still have more stockpiled, but I reckon twenty is enough to be getting on with). As always, click on the links for the longer, generally less sarcastic answers, and have a browse of the enormous Q&A page. Current total stands at 425 questions !

1) Are you a rah-rah scientist ?

2) Is that my timeline of the Universe Stephen Hawking is using ?
Yes it is !

3) Your Discovery variant of Orion is all wrong.
Blame Kubrick.

4) What's neat about this galaxy without any dark matter ?
It looked like it was really cool... but it wasn't.

5) The galaxy can't have more than one black hole !
Err... yes, it can.

6) Can you make a side-by-side 3D version of this galaxy fly-through ?

7) Is this the Andromeda galaxy ?

8) What do you call it when you reach the point of closest/furthest approach to a black hole ?

9) Is every round object a planet ?

10) Is mainstream science being a douchebag by pretending the Big Bang is real ?
Umm, no.

11) Don't quasars disprove the ages of distant galaxies ?
What ? No.

12) I've disproved the expansion of the Universe !
No, you haven't.

13) Is the Cosmic Microwave Background homogeneous ?
Yes, very.

14) How come distance doesn't matter for surface brightness ?
Geometry works like that.

15) Wait, are your sure distance doesn't affect surface brightness ?
Yes. There are lots of subtleties but they can be accounted for.

16) Could time dilation affect our estimates of star formation rate in distant galaxies ?

17) Isn't space a vacuum, so how come turbulent clouds don't just fly apart ?
It's not a perfect vacuum, just a very good one.

18) What shape are black holes ?
Very, very pointy.

19) Is this asteroid impact video accurate ?
It's not bad.

20) What's the data set shown in this pretty movie ?
Your mum.

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