This section of the forum is for astronomy and space exploration questions with straightforward, generally accepted answers.

Questions that are likely to lead to extended discussion about the correct answer, or that have no clearcut correct answer, should be posted in the forum most appropriate to the topic of the question. If a question does lead to such discussion, it may be split off or moved entirely to a more appropriate forum by a moderator. Since it's hard to tell how a discussion will go, posting such questions will generally be treated as a judgment matter and not a rule violation.

Questions taking issue or raising concerns with the mainstream viewpoint should be posted in the ATM forum. Posting questions along these lines will generally be treated as a rule violation.

Anyone is welcome to answer questions, but any answer should accurately reflect the generally accepted scientific mainstream. Some speculation is permissible if it is clearly indicated as such and if it can be traced to peer-reviewed science, i.e., if there's currently no clearcut mainstream answer, but mainstream scientists have proposed a possible answer that has yet to be verified or widely accepted.

Answers should be polite, respectful, pertinent to the question asked, and geared to the questioner’s apparent level of knowledge. Since the Q&A section will provide the first impression of our forum to many new arrivals, posters should be on their very best behavior. For the same reason, moderators will monitor this subforum closely to ensure that that is in fact the case.

Members providing an answer based on their own pet hypotheses that have little or no support in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, no matter how well it might address the question, will be dealt with severely.

Once a question seems to be adequately addressed, the thread may be closed by a moderator. If the member posting the original question feels the answer is insufficient, the moderator’s post may be reported (click the black triangle in the lower left corner) and a request to reopen the thread submitted.

To put it another way, the goal of this section of the forum is to provide a reliable source of information about astronomy and space exploration, a sort of member-controlled Frequently Asked Questions section, so that people looking for such answers can find them quickly and easily.

As always, if you think a post is inappropriate for the topic or forum, use the report function to alert the moderator team rather than taking the thread further off-topic by arguing with it in place.