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the study of the universe


a collection of star systems

Solar System

the sun with the celestial bodies that revolve around it in its gravitational field

Local Group

a group of about 30 galaxies that includes the Milky Way

Astronomical Unit

a unit of length used for distances within the solar system; equal to the mean distance between sun and earth

Light Year

the distance that light travels in a vacuum in 1 year


a bar of magnetic material (as soft iron) that passes through a coil and serves to increase the inductance of the coil

Radioactive Zone

layer just outside the sun's core, where energy is transported mostly in the form of radiation

Convection Zone

outermost layer of the sun's interior


the intensely luminous surface of a star (especially the sun)


a gaseous layer of the sun's atmosphere (extending from the photosphere to the corona) that is visible during a total eclipse of the sun


the outermost region of the sun's atmosphere


a fourth state of matter distinct from solid or liquid or gas and present in stars and fusion reactors


areas on the sun's surface that are cooler and less bright than surrounding areas, are caused by the sun's magnetic field, and occur in cycles

Solar Flare

a sudden eruption of intense high-energy radiation from the sun's surface

Solar Wind

a stream of protons moving radially from the sun


an atmospheric phenomenon consisting of bands of light caused by charged solar particles following the earth's magnetic lines of force

Coronal Mass Ejection

large volumes of high energy gas released from the Sun's corona

Solar Prominence

large eruptions of luminous hydrogen gas that rise thousands of kilometers above the chromosphere

Nuclear Fusion

a nuclear reaction in which nuclei combine to form more massive nuclei with the simultaneous release of energy

Electromagnetic Spectrum

the entire frequency range of electromagnetic waves

Bing Bang Theory

a cosmological theory holding that the universe originated approximately 20 billion years ago from the violent explosion of a very small agglomeration of matter of extremely high density and temperature.

Doppler Red Shift

apparent shift in spectrum to the red end due to the movement of the light emitting object in space away from the observer


an immense cloud of gas (mainly hydrogen) and dust in interstellar space


Early form of a star; This stage lies between the collapsing of dust and gas and the beginning of nuclear fusion

Main Sequence

H fusion begins in core; forces balanced; star stable

Red Giant

a large cool star

Red Supergiant

H runs out, fusion of heavier elements begins (to iron); unstable and dying

Super Nova

massive explosion of unstable high mass star

White Dwarf

a faint star of enormous density

Neutron Star

a star that has collapsed under its own gravity

Black Hole

gravitational field so intense light cannot escape; end of a very massive star

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