Solar System Terms Flashcards

Terms Definitions
AU
astronomical unit abbreviation
Mars: Maximum Surface Temperature
(-5C)
Metal
Used differently by astrophysicists than by chemists. Generally used by astrophysicists to mean all elements except hydrogen and helium.
Atmosphere of Earth
*atmosphere protects life
Saturn
second-largest and sixth planet from the sun; ha the most complex system of rings
meteor
luminous observed when a meteoroid enters earth's atmosphere and burns up - shooting star
meteorite
a meteriod that lands on earth
mercury
the second smallest planet in our solar sytem
Pluto
smallest and ninth planet from the sun; has a thin atmosphere and a solid ice rock surface.
Ellipse
Oval. Johannes Kepler, based on the careful observations by Tycho Brahe, determined that the orbits of the planets are ellipses, not circles.
Core
Center of the sun; Nuclear fusion occurs
Meteriod
rock or icy fragment moving through space
meteoroid
rock or icy fragment moving through space
Galaxy
A group of stars, gas, and dust
Supergiant
very large, very bright giant red star.
mars
fourth planet from the sun; called the red planet because of high concentrations of iron oxide.
Venus: Sidereal Rotation Period (Day)
(-243 Earth Days) Retrograde
impact craters
produced by the impact of rapidly moving debris - meteoroids, asteroids and comets
Crater
A bowl-shaped area that forms around a volcano's central opening; A round pit on the moon's surface.
solar Flares
eruptions of gas from the sun's surface that occurs when the loops in sunspot regions suddenly connects
Spring Equinox
-Equal amounts of day/night hours on March 21st.
-First day of spring.
Sun
the only part of the solar system which produces light of its' own
Orbit
The elliptical path that a body takes as it travels around another body in space with the motion itself
Greenhouse Effect
The process in which heat is trapped in the atmosphere and other gasses that form a "blanket" around the earth.
Comet
A frozen chunk of dust, ice and gases that revolves around the sun;also know as a "shooting star"
revolution
the time it takes to orbit the sun once (1 year)
Atmosphere of Saturn
Similar to Jupiter composed mostly of hydrogen and helium
Sunspot
A dark spot on the photosphere of the sun
Full Moon
When the side of the moon that faces Earth is entirely lit up. When Earth is between the moon and the Sun
Solar System
A group of objects in space that orbit a star in the center
Period of Revolution
the time it takes for one body to make one complete orbit, or revolution, around another body in space
jupiter
5th
ganymede
jupiters largest moon
jovian planet = ?
Jupiter-like
Galileo
Who's observations supported Copernicus's theory that the sun was at the center of the doalr system?
a sphere
a round, 3D object
none
How many moons does Venus have?
telescope
an instrument that magnifies distant objects, or makes them appear larger
Venus and Mars
Earth's 2 closest neighbors.
Milky Way
What is our galaxy called?
a ball of rock or gas
planets
Axis
The center around whitch something rotates.
red giant
large cool star of high luminisity/magnitude
supernova
energy released as the star breaks apart in a tremendous explosion
lightyear
distances between the milky way galaxy and other galaxies are measured in
Ice Giants
Uranus and Neptune. Their composistion of hydrogen and helium contain a lot of "ices."
gravity
the force of attraction between all masses in the universe
Retrograde Motion
A planet's apparent backward movement in the sky.
constellation
a pattern or picture outlined by stars
Corona
the outermost region of the sun's atmosphere
Gas Giant
the outer planets; Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
made up of mostly gas
Why is Neptune still releasing heat?
Still contracting
Thicker
What is the main difference between the atmosphere of a gas giant and that of a terrestrial planet?
totality
the event that occours when a celestial body completely eclipses another celestial body.
Celestial Sphere
An imaginary sphere around the Earth on which the stars and planets appear to be positioned.
third quarter
Waning Moon phase in which only one-half of the lighted side of the Moon can be seen from Earth
The 'Goldilocks' Zone
habitable zone; liquid, solid and gaseous water present; gravity can hold atmospheric gases
Phase
The change in the illuminated area of one celestial body as seen from another celestial body
exoplanet
a planetlike body that orbits a star other than the sun
astronomical unit
used for measuring distances in the solar system.
Parallax
The distances to nearby stars can be measured by using....
What is the largest planet in the solar system?
Jupiter
asteroids
large chunk of rock that orbits the sun
Kepler's laws
all planets have an elliptical orbit; that planets travel faster as they get closer to the sun; and that the planets closest to the sun orbit the sun at a faster rate than those farther way
Irregular galaxy
no definite shape; may have been involved in a collision with other galaxies
Solar System: Gravity
explained by Newton, force of attraction between any two objects; governs movements and characterization of the planets, asteroids, and comets
Kuiper Belt
The name of the large disk shaped group of comets that circle the sun
milky way galaxy
scientists can't view our galaxy, but their measurments make them belive its spiral
asteroid Belt
a belt of asteroids that is located between Mars and Jupiter
coma
a "cloud" of gas that forms around the nucleus of a comet as it nears the sun
axial tilt
the angle that a planet's axis is tilted from vertical
equinox
The two days of the year on which neither hemisphere is tilted toward or away from the sun.
year(earth year)
(365 days)the time it takes for the Earth to make a complete revolution around the sun.
First Quarter
90 degree angle to the sun; At sunset straight over head
What are the outer planets?
Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto
Rotation
The time it takes the Earth to spin on its axis in a complete circle, which is 24 hours
Capernican Heliocentrism
early thought of the sun as the center of the solar system and the moon orbiting the sun
It is about 838,900 miles across.
The closest planet to the sun.
Four terrestrial planets are known for their....
Rocky surfaces
(The word _______ means land/rock)
An object stay in orbit because
the pull of gravity is ballance by its forward motion
It has the most moons of any planet, about 23.
It is the only planet less dense than water.
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