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Topic of the week is a week where we make an effort to ask and answer more questions around a specific tag, this brings more attention to the topic which in turn should bring us more views and users who are interested in those areas.

Topic of the week helps us flesh out topics that look like they could use a bit more attention.

Feel free to post an answer, suggesting a tag each, maybe with some reasoning to get voted on so we can see what you would like to ask and answer more questions on.

A quick note, ones that might be worth suggesting could be topics around a certain event, i.e if a meteor shower is about to happen then having that as topic of the week before / during that period would obviously be very advantageous.

Weeks (active in bold):

If current week doesn't have a topic selected, then the previously week's topic stays active until a new topic is selected by votes on the suggestions in the answers below. Please vote on those answers that aren't indicated as already used.


Archived Topics

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(used December 15-21, 2013)

Wikipedia on Amateur astronomy

Amateur astronomy, also called backyard astronomy and stargazing, is a hobby whose participants enjoy watching the sky, and the abundance of objects found in it, mainly with portable telescopes and binoculars. Even though scientific research is not their main goal, many amateur astronomers make a contribution to astronomy by monitoring variable stars, tracking asteroids and discovering transient objects, such as comets and novae.

I also suggest creating a few tag synonyms like , and , and already existing tag should likely also be a synonym of one of its more descriptive alternatives, so the topics and tags are easier to find due to many synonyms used to describe non-academic, non-professional astronomy.

(Suggested changes made)

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(January 5-11, 2014)

Astrometry is the branch of astronomy that involves precise measurements of the positions and movements of stars and other celestial bodies. The information obtained by astrometric measurements provides information on the kinematics and physical origin of our Solar System and our galaxy, the Milky Way.

This tag doesn't yet exist, so it might be worth adding it beforehand, if this suggestion is accepted for a TOTW. But since we recently launched ESA's Gaia towards a Lissajous orbit at Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange point and is tasked with mapping one billion stars of the Milky Way (only ~ ⅓%, but still a feat with no comparison if all goes well), measure precise distance to them and track their movement with two 1000 megapixel cameras that are precise enough to detect a Euro coin from the surface of the Earth if it was placed on the Moon, or resolve a human hair from 1000 kilometers away, I thought this topic might be interesting enough to a wider audience. ;)

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(used December 29, 2013 - January 4, 2014)

Nothing more fascinating than learning about our place in the universe and how our galaxy is nothing more but one in billions, nothing partuclar about it.

The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains our Solar System.Its name "milky" is derived from its appearance as a dim glowing band arching across the night sky in which the naked eye cannot distinguish individual stars.

The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy some 100,000–120,000 light-years in diameter which contains 100–400 billion stars. It may contain at least as many planets as well. The Solar System is located within the disk, about 27,000 light-years away from the Galactic Center, on the inner edge of a spiral-shaped concentration of gas and dust called the Orion–Cygnus Arm. The stars in the inner ≈10,000 light-years form a bulge and one or more bars that radiate from the bulge. The very center is marked by an intense radio source named Sagittarius A* which is likely to be a supermassive black hole.

Example questions:

What is the age of the Milky Way compared to the Universe?

What is the proof that the Milky Way is a barred spiral?

Was the Milky Way galaxy once a Quasar?

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(used December 8-14, 2013)

Astronomical spectroscopy is the technique of spectroscopy used in astronomy. The object of study is the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, including visible light, which radiates from stars and other hot celestial objects. Spectroscopy can be used to derive many properties of distant stars and galaxies, such as their chemical composition, temperature, density, mass, distance, luminosity, and relative motion using Doppler shift measurements.

Astronomical spectroscopy can be broken down into three major bands: optical, radio, and X-ray. While all spectroscopy looks at specific areas of the spectrum, different methods are required to acquire the signal depending on the frequency/wavelength. Ozone (O3) and molecular oxygen (O2) absorb light with wavelengths under 300 nm, meaning that X-ray and ultraviolet spectroscopy require the use of a satellite telescope and/or rocket mounted detectors. Radio signals have much longer wavelengths than optical signals, and require the use of antennas or radio dishes. Infrared light is absorbed by atmospheric water and carbon dioxide, so while the equipment is similar to that used in optical spectroscopy, satellites are required to record much of the infrared spectrum.

from Wikipedia

Example questions:

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