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Studies of a brown dwarf with the Kepler mission by University of Delaware Professor John Gizis have revealed evidence of a long-lasting starspot and frequent white light flares that rival the most powerful seen on the Sun. This is an artist's conception drawn by Rob Gizis.


Have a physics or astronomy question? Whether you're curious about tiny, elusive neutrinos or the most massive black holes in the universe, we can help.

We are graduate students, research scientists and faculty in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at University of Delaware. We are developers of quantum computers, space weather forecasters, planet hunters and more!

Please email your question to askaphysicist@physics.udel.edu. Scroll down for information on who can ask questions and how to phrase your question.


New Questions

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Bill Matthaeus and Mike Shay's research groups conduct computer simulations of turbulence in plasmas. This rendering of fully developed turbulence is from the 2013 paper "Coherent structures, intermittent turbulence, and dissipation in high-temperature plasmas," by Karimabadi et al. (Physics of Plasmas 20, 012303).

Question Archive

Who can ask questions?

  • We welcome questions from K-12 students and teachers. We ask that students put their age or grade level in the email so we can answer at the appropriate level.
  • Non-scientist members of the general public are also encouraged to submit questions. To help us answer at the right level, it's helpful if you add a little bit about your background -- for example, "I'm an accomplished amateur astronomer" or "I'm usually not interested in science, but I read something about climate change and I want to find out if it's true."
  • College students may submit questions as long as they are not homework questions (see below). We can help with general physics concepts, but we will not compute or calculate anything for you.
  • We advise journalists working on deadlines to contact individual scientists directly, rather than send questions to Ask A Physicist. The contributors to this page are volunteers, and we cannot guarantee that questions will be answered immediately.
  • Professional physicists or astronomers should not use this service. We do not review manuscripts or check calculations.


How should I phrase my question?

  • Make it specific enough that we can answer it in 1-2 paragraphs: "What types of nuclear reactions can produce neutrinos?" rather than "Tell me everything you know about neutrinos."
  • However, if you make it too specific, you will trigger our homework question alert. Questions such as "Describe the five ways to measure the temperature of a star" or "If I throw a ball upward at 2 meters per second from a height of 1.5 meters, how high will it go?" will not be answered.
  • We might not be able to help with questions that are specific to your locale, such as "What was that flash I saw in the sky at 10:00 PM last night?"