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Ask an Astrophysicist

Ask an Astrophysicist

This is the "Ask an Astrophysicist" service of the Imagine the Universe! web site. We are a small group of volunteers who work on space-based astronomical observations, including cosmic-ray, gamma-ray, and X-ray astrophysics. Our research subjects are often exotic, like black holes, dark matter, and the origin of the universe.

We have already answered many questions, and have an extensive archive of past questions and answers. Please consult the archive first to see if your question has already been answered. We attempt to answer as many questions as possible, but we are a small group of volunteers and cannot afford the time to answer all the incoming questions.

We will not respond to questions whose answers may be found in our archive or on our site, or questions unrelated to space-based astrophysics.

  • We do not accept more than 1 question per email and no more than 1 question per week from an individual user.
  • Educators, please see Special Guidelines for Teachers.
  • It usually takes 1-2 weeks for our volunteers to answer a question.

Which topic area are you interested in?
(Please select one to search for the answer to your question)

* Astronomy as a Profession * Neutron Stars/Pulsars
* Binary Star Systems Red * Night Sky (stars, planets & more)
* Black Holes * Physics of Stars
* Cosmic Rays * Quasars & Active Galaxies
* Cosmology * Relativity
* Dark Matter and Dark Energy Red * Satellites & Space Technology
Red * Earth and Moon (also calendars) Red * Solar System
* Exoplanets Red * Space Travel & Exploration
* Gamma-ray Bursts * Supernovae and Their Remnants
* Milky Way and other Galaxies * X-ray/Gamma-ray Astronomy
Red * General Astronomy & Astrophysics

Please note that topic links with Red * take you to an archive of questions & answers and other resources, but will not allow you to submit new questions.

Not sure where your question fits in? If so,
  • Read an explanation of these topic areas.
  • Or type a key word or phrase into our LIBRARY SEARCH ENGINE --- your question may already have been answered on our site.
If your question does not fall onto one of the above areas, it means we are not the appropriate resource for your question.
  • Check out the "Who are we" page, which explains what we study, what questions we'd most like to answer, and how we fit in with the rest of NASA.
  • You can find other similar services by doing a web search for them or you could try doing a general web search for your question --- a lot of the things are on the web, if only you knew where to look. Here is an explanation of how to do a web search.


A service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/GSFC

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