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31 Cards in this Set

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meteoroid
a small rocky object orbiting the Sun; smaller than an asteroid
sublimation
the process of an ice (solid state) turning directly to a gas state; does not change to a liquid first
declination
the label for the Y axis on star charts; similar to latitude on Earth
particle
a tiny quantity of a substance
coma
a cloud that forms around a comet's nucleus made of dust and gas
aerogel
a material made of silicate dioxide used to catch comet dust
Oort Cloud
a spherical cloud containing cometary particles; goes beyond the orbit of Neptune and Pluto; possibly the source of long period comets
perihelion
the point where an object orbiting the Sun is closest to the Sun
orbit
the path an object makes as it revolves around the Sun
nucleus
the solid part of a comet, made of ices and rock; melts near the Sun
mass
a measure of an object's inertia
long period comets
a comet with an orbial period of more than 200 years; possibly start in the Oort Cloud
Kuiper Belt
a region past the orbit of Neptune containing many small icy bodies; the possible source of short period comets
gravity
the force of attraction between two objects
ejecta
the debris that is ejected from the site of impact when a crater forms
astronomical unit (AU)
a measurement; one AU is equal to the average distance between the Sun and Earth; 93 million miles
asteroid
a body orbiting the Sun made of rock
circle
a geometric shape; all points are the same distance from the center
eccentricity
a numerical vaule for the shape of an orbit; zero to one
densisty
the mass of a substance for a given volume
right ascension
the label for the X axis on star charts; similar to longitude on Earth
meteor
a bright streak of light in the sky caused by a meteoroid entering Earth's atmosphere; shooting star; falling star
meteorite
the rocky remains of meteors that land on Earth
tail
a long trail of dust and gas that extends out from the coma of a comet when it's near the Sun
magnitude
a numerical value for the brightness of a celestial object; brighter is a smaller magnitude, dimmer is a larger magnitude
constellation
a group of stars that form a pattern in the sky
short period comet
a comet with an orbital period of less than 200 years; periodic comet
spectrometer
an instrument used to obtain and record a spectrum (series of colors)of an astronomical object
periodic comets
a comet with an orbital period of less than 200 years; a short period comet
ellipse
a geometric shape; all points on the curve are the constant sum of the distances from the focal points
comet
an object in the Solar System formed of dust, rock and ice