Astronomy: Components of the Solar System

20 terms by jdurdel

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nebula

a large cloud of dust and gas in interstellar space; the location of star formation

gravity

the force of attraction between all masses in the universe

Sun

a typical star that is the source of light and heat for the planets in the solar system

solar nebula

a rotating cloud of gas and dust from which the sun and planets formed; also any nebula from which stars and planets may form

nebular theory

theory that the sun and the planets condensed out of a spinning cloud of gas and dust

condensation theory

Premise that stars and planets accumulated from contracting, accreting clouds of galactic gas, dust, and debris.

condensation nuclei

microscopic platforms to which other atoms can attach.

accretion

the formation of a celestial object by the effect of gravity pulling together surrounding objects and gases

protoplanets

Regions of condensed matter that serve as a starting point for the formation of a planet.

crater

The depression at the summit of a volcano, or that which is produced by a meteorite impact

synchronous orbit

the state when period of rotation is exactly equal to orbital period. the moon is in this and thus presents the same face toward the earth at all times.

intercrater plains

the relatively smooth terrain on Mercury

mercury

planet closest to the Sun; has a thin atmosphere with temperature extremes, an iron core, and many craters and high cliffs

geocentric

models of the universe based on the assumption that the sun, moon, and planets all orbit Earth

heliocentric

a model of the solar system in which Earth and the other planets revolve around the sun

interstellar dust

small particles or grains of matter, primarily carbon and silicates, distributed throughout interstellar space

jovian planets

the large, outer planets made of gas - Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, & Neptune

terrestrial planets

Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. They all have rocky crusts and dense mantles and cores.

moon

any natural satellite of a planet

meteoritic

of or relating to or caused by meteorites

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