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20 terms

Astronomy: Components of the Solar System

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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