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29 terms

Astronomy Ch. 3: The Solar System (no images)

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geocentric
a model of the universe in which Earth is at the center of the revolving planets and stars
heliocentric
a model of the solar system in which Earth and the other planets revolve around the sun
ellipse
an oval shape which may be elongated or nearly circular; the shape of the planets' orbits
core
the central region of the sun, where nuclear fusion takes place
nuclear fusion
the process by which hydrogen atoms join together in the sun's core to form helium
radiation zone
a region of very tightly packed gas in the sun's interior where energy is transferred mainly in the form of light
convection zone
the outermost layer of the sun's interior
photosphere
the inner layer of the sun's atmosphere that gives off its visible light
chromosphere
the middle layer of the sun's atmosphere
corona
the outer layer of the sun's atmosphere
solar wind
a stream of electrically charged particles that eminate from the sun's corona
sunspot
a dark area of gas on the sun's surface that is cooler than surrounding gases
prominence
a huge reddish loop of gas that protrudes from the sun's surface linking parts of sunspot regions
solar flare
an eruption of gas from the sun's surface that occurs when the loops in sunspot regions suddenly connect
terrestrial planets
the name often given to the four inner planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars
greenhouse effect
the trapping of heat by a planet's atmosphere
gas giant
the name often given to the first four outer planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune
ring
a thin disk of small ice and rock particles surrounding a planet
comet
a loose collection of ice, dust, and small rocky particles, typically with a long, narrow orbit
coma
the fuzzy outer layer of a comet
nucleus
the solid inner core of a comet
Kuiper belt
a doughnut shaped region that stretches from around Pluto's orbit to about 100 times Earth's distance from the sun
Oort Cloud
a spherical region of comets that surrounds the solar system
asteroid
rocky object revolving around the sun that are too small and numerous to be considered planets
asteroid belt
the region of the solar system between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter where many asteroids are found
meteoroid
a chunk of rock or dust in space
meteor
a streak of light in the sky produced by the burning of a meteoroid in Earth's atmosphere
meteorite
a meteoroid that passes through the atmosphere and hits Earth's surface
extraterrestrial life
life that exists other than on Earth