Accumulation of dust and gas into larger bodies such as stars, planets and moons.
Adams, John Couch 1819-1892
アダムズ, ジョン・カーチ 1819-1892
イギリスの天文学者、数学者。当時未知であった天王星の先にある惑星の位置を 初めて予測しました(24歳)。ルヴェリエも海王星の位置を 独立に計算し、それに基づきガッレが海王星の存在を確認した ことから、この2人は海王星発見者はだれかをめぐる論争に巻き 込まれることになりました。(写真 4k jpg)
English astronomer and mathematician who, at the age of 24, was the first person to predict the position of a planetary mass beyond Uranus. After Galle confirmed the existance of Neptune based on independent calculations done by Le Verrier, the two became embroiled in a dispute over priority. (4k jpg)
天体に入射する光の量に対し、反射する光がどれくらいかを示す割合。 反射率の度合いであり、天体そのものの明るさです。 (完全に光を反射する白色表面のアルベドは1.0であり、完全に 光を吸収する黒色表面のアルベドは0.0です)
the ratio of the amount of light reflected by an object and the amount of incident light; a measure of the reflectivity or intrinsic brightness of an object (a white, perfectly reflecting surface would have an albedo of 1.0; a black perfectly absorbing surface would have an albedo of 0.0).
albedo feature
天体面の明暗模様。この明暗は、地質や地形の違いによるものとは 限りません。
A dark or light marking on the surface of an object that may not be a geological or topographical feature.
antipodal point
the point that is directly on the opposite side of the planet
惑星が太陽から最も離れる、軌道上の1点。地球を回る天体について いう場合には近地点という用語が使われます。その他の天体を回る軌道 についていう場合には、遠アプス点といいます。(近日点の反対)
the point in its orbit where a planet is farthest from the Sun; when refering to objects orbiting the Earth the term apogee is used; the term apoapsis is used for orbits around other bodies. (opposite of perihelion)
asteroid number
小惑星が発見されると、(訳注:軌道が正確に求められてから) 登録番号がつけられます。N番目の小惑星のあとにN+1番目の小惑星 が発見されたという意味です。(付録5を参照)
asteroids are assigned a serial number when they are discovered. It has no particular meaning except that asteroid N+1 was discovered after asteroid N. (see appendix 5)
astronomical unit (AU)
149,597,870 km で、地球から太陽までの平均距離です。
= 149,597,870 km; the average distance from the Earth to the Sun.
大気の圧力という意味以外に、 1.01325 バール = 101325 N/m2 という、海面上の標準的な気圧を1気圧とよんで気圧の単位に使用する こともあります。
= 1.013 bars = 1.03 kg/cm2 = 14.7 pounds per square inch, standard atmospheric pressure at sea level on Earth.
惑星の電離層に発生する発光現象。太陽からやってくる電気を 帯びた粒子と、惑星の磁場とが関係しています。
a glow in a planets ionosphere caused by the interaction between the planet's magnetic field and charged particles from the Sun
aurora borealis
太陽からやってくる電気を帯びた粒子(太陽風)、地球の磁場、 そして地球上層の大気が関係しています。同じような現象が南半球でも 起こっており、南極光と呼ばれています。(訳注:極光(オーロラ)の うち、北極付近現れるものを北極光、南極付近で現れるものを南極光 といいます)
the "Northern Lights"; caused by the interaction between the solar wind, the Earth's magnetic field and the upper atmosphere. A similar effect happens in the southern hemisphere where it is known as the aurora austrailis.


= 1000 hPa (ヘクトパスカル)= 100000 kg・m/m2      = (約)0.9869 気圧
= 0.987 atmosphere = 1.02 kg/cm2 = 100 kilopascal = 14.5 lbs/square inch.
Barnard, Edward Emerson 1857-1923
バーナード, エドワーズ・エマーソン 1857-1923
アメリカの天文学者。木星の衛星アマルテア、そして太陽に2番目 に近い恒星である「バーナード星(せい)」の発見者。
American astronomer; discovered Jupiter's satellite Amalthea and Barnard's star, the second-nearest star system to the Sun.
ターザンで有名なアメリカの作家エドガー・ライス・バロウズのSF作品に登場することばで、 「火星」を意味する「現地語」。
The local name for Mars in Edgar Rice Burroughs's SF books.
Bode, Johann 1747-1826
ボーデ, ヨハン 1747-1826
ドイツの天文学者。惑星軌道の大きさに関する見かけの規則性 「ボーデの法則」で知られています。
German astronomer, known for the bogus "Bode's Law" which attempts to explain the sizes of the planetary orbits.
Bond, William Cranch 1789-1859
ボンド, ウィリアム・クランチ 1789-1859
アメリカ初期の著名な天文学者のひとり。貧しく、きちんとした 教育も受けませんでしたが、こうした境遇を乗り越えて、ハーバード大学 天文台の初代天文台長になりました。そこで、土星の研究をし、ラッセルと ともに、土星の衛星「ヒペリオン」を発見。
One of the earliest American astronomers of note; rose from poverty and overcame a lack of formal education to become the first director of the Harvard College Observatory where he studied Saturn and (with Lassell) discovered its moon Hyperion.
Brahe, Tycho 1546-1601
ブラーエ, ティコ 1546-1601
デンマークの天文学者。彼の行った正確な天体観測が、惑星運動に 関するケプラーの法則の基礎となりました。 (写真 141k jpg38k jpg詳細)
Danish astronomer whose accurate astronomical observations formed the basis for Johannes Kepler's laws of planetary motion. (141k jpg; 38k jpg; more)


crater formed by an explosion or collapse of a volcanic vent.
a compound containing carbon and oxygen (i.e. calcium carbonate a.k.a. limestone).
Cassini, Giovanni Domenico 1625-1712
カッシーニ, ジョヴァーンニ・ドメニコ 1625-1712
(ジャン・ドミニーク の名でも知られる)イタリア生まれのフランス の天文学者で、パリ天文台初代台長。 土星の衛星のうち4つ(テティスディオーネレアイアペトゥス)と、リングのなかの大きなすきま 「カッシーニの間隙(かんげき)」を発見。 (写真 13k jpg詳細)
(a.k.a. Jean Dominique) Italian-born French astronomer and first director of the Royal Observatory in Paris; discoverer of four of Saturn's moons (Tethys, Dione, Rhea and Iapetus) and the major gap in its rings. (13k jpg; more)
惑星や衛星地形を示すことばで、クレーターのつながったもの。 クレーター列。
chain of craters.
Hollows, irregular depressions.
distinctive area of broken terrain.
the lower level of the solar atmosphere between the photosphere and the corona
small hill or knob.
the dust and gas surrounding an active comet's nucleus
アメリカ政府の立法機関。宇宙探査機にとっては、広大な宇宙空間 よりもはるかに手強い相手です。
the legislative branch of the US Government; has proven to be a much more hostile environment for scientific spacecraft than the vastness of space.
fluid circulation driven by large temperature gradients; the transfer of heat by this automatic circulation.
Copernicus, Nicolaus 1473-1543
コペルニクス, ニコラウス 1473-1543
ポーランドの天文学者。地球や他の惑星が太陽のまわりを回るという 太陽中心説(地動説)を唱えました。当時は千年以上にわたり広まっていた プトレマイオスの考えが宗教や哲学にも深く根づいていたため、 このような考えはたんへんな議論を巻き起こしました。 (470k html/gif; 12k gif; 129k jpg; 詳細)
Polish astronomer who advanced the heliocentric theory that the Earth and other planets revolve around the Sun. This was highly controversial at the time as the Ptolemaic view of the universe, which was the prevailing theory for over 1000 years, was deeply ingrained in the prevailing philosophy and religion. (470k html/gif; 12k gif; 129k jpg; more)
ovoid-shaped feature.
太陽大気の最も外側の部分です。コロナの密度は薄いのですが、 100万度を越える高温です。
the uppermost level of the solar atmosphere, characterized by low densities and high temperatures (> 1.0E+06° K).
a special telescope which blocks light from the disk of the Sun in order to study the faint solar atmosphere.
cosmic ray
an extremely energetic (relativistic) charged particle.
depression formed by the impact of a meteorite. Depression around the orifice of a volcano.


measured in grams per cubic centimeter (or kilograms per liter); the density of water is 1.0; iron is 7.9; lead is 11.3.
the visible surface of the Sun (or any heavenly body) projected against the sky.
doppler effect
the apparent change in wavelength of sound or light caused by the motion of the source, observer or both. (see also)
large reptiles that lived in the Mesozoic Era from 230 to 65 million years ago; most probably wiped out by the impact of a large asteroid or comet.
rotation or orbital motion in a counterclockwise direction when viewed from the north pole of the primary (i.e. in the same sense to most satellites); the opposite of retrograde. The north pole is the one on the same side of the ecliptic as the Earth's north pole. (The word "prograde" is sometimes used to mean "direct" in this sense.)


the eccentricity of an ellipse (planetary orbit) is the ratio of the distance between the focii and the major axis. Equivalently the eccentricity is (ra-rp)/(ra+rp) where ra is the apoapsis distance and rp is the periapsis distance.
effusive erruption
a relative quiet volcanic eruption which puts out basaltic lava that moves at about the speed one walks; the lava is fluid in nature; the eruptions at the Kilauea volcano on the island of Hawaii are effusive
Einstein, Albert 1879-1955
German-American physicist; developed the Special and General Theories of Relativity which along with Quantum Mechanics is the foundation of modern physics. (See fusion, speed of light) (96k gif)
oval. That the orbits of the planets are ellipses, not circles, was first discovered by Johannes Kepler based on the careful observations by Tycho Brahe.
= 1e-10 kilowatts.
explosive erruption
a dramatic volcanic eruption which throws debris high into the air for hundreds of miles; lava is low in silicate; can be very dangerous for people near by; an example is Mount St. Helens in 1980
exponential notation
"1.23e4" means "1.23 times 10 to the fourth power" or 12,300; "5.67e-8" means "5.67 divided by 10 to the eighth power" or 0.0000000567.


bright spot.
a strand of cool gas suspended over the photosphere by magnetic fields, which appears dark as seen against the disk of the Sun; a filament on the limb of the Sun seen in emission against the dark sky is called a prominence.
a narrow opening or crack of considerable length and depth.
a sudden eruption of energy on the solar disk lasting minutes to hours, from which radiation and particles are emitted.
cuspate (pointed) linear feature.
flow terrain.
long, narrow, shallow depression.
Franklin, Benjamin 1706-1790
American public official, writer, and scientist. Played a major part in the American Revolution and helped draft the Constitution. His numerous scientific and practical innovations include the lightning rod, bifocal spectacles, and a stove.


Gaia Hypothesis
named for the Greek Earth goddess Gaea, holds that the Earth as a whole should be regarded as a living organism and that biological processes stabilize the environment. First advanced by British biologist James Lovelock in 1969.
Galle, Johann Gottfried 1812-1910
German astronomer who, with Heinrich Louis d'Arrest, made the first observation of Neptune based on calculations by Le Verrier. Though Galle was the first to observe Neptune, its discovery is usually credited to Adams (who made an earlier calculation) and Le Verrier.
Galilean Moons
Jupiter's four largest moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto; discovered independently by Galileo and Marius. (Galileo proposed that they be named the Medicean stars, in honor of his patron Cosimo II de Medici; the present names are due to Marius)
Galileo Galilei 1564-1642
Italian astronomer and physicist. The first to use a telescope to study the stars. Discoverer of the first moons of an extraterrestrial body (see above). Galileo was an outspoken supporter of Copernicus's heliocentric theory. In reaction to Galileo, the Church declared it heresy to teach that the Earth moved and imprisioned him. The Church clung to this position for 350 years until Galileo was formally exonerated in 1992. (16k gif; 136k jpg) (See also the Galileo exhibit at Institute and Museum of History of Science, Florence ITALY)
George III 1738-1820
King of Great Britain and Ireland (1760-1820). His government's policies fed American colonial discontent, leading to revolution in 1776.
geosynchronous orbit
a direct, circular, low inclination orbit in which the satellite's orbital velocity is matched to the rotational velocity of the planet; a spacecraft appears to hang motionless above one position of the planet's surface.
a pattern of small cells seen on the surface of the Sun caused by the convective motions of the hot solar gas.
greenhouse effect
increase in temperature caused when incoming solar radiation is passed but outgoing thermal radiation is blocked by the atmosphere (carbon dioxide is the major factor).


Hale, George Ellery 1868-1938
American astronomer who founded the Yerkes, Mt. Wilson and Palomar observatories. (72k gif)
Hall, Asaph 1829-1907
American astronomer who discovered the two moons of Mars, Deimos and Phobos.
Halley, Edmund 1656-1742
English astronomer who applied Newton's laws of motion to historical comet data and predicted correctly the reappearance of the comet which now bears his name. (12k jpg)
Sun-centered; see Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo.
the point at which the solar wind meets the interstellar medium or solar wind from other stars.
the space within the broundary of the heliopause containing the Sun and solar system.
Herschel, Sir William 1738-1822
British astronomer who discovered Uranus and cataloged more than 800 double stars and 2,500 nebulae.
Hubble, Edwin P. 1889-1953
American astronomer whose observations proved that galaxies are "island universes", not nebulae inside our own galaxy. His greatest discovery was the linear relationship between a galaxy's distance and the speed with which it is moving. The Hubble Space Telescope is named in his honor. (133k html/gif; 60k gif)
Huygens, Christiaan 1629-1695
Dutch physicist and astronomer who first described the nature of Saturn's rings (1655) and discovered its moon Titan; also pioneered the use of the pendulum in clocks. (7k jpg; more)


used by planetary scientists to refer to water, methane, and ammonia which usually occur as solids in the outer solar system.
the inclination of a planet's orbit is the angle between the plane of its orbit and the ecliptic; the inclination of a moon's orbit is the angle between the plane of its orbit and the plane of its primary's equator.
Inquisition, The
A Renaissance Catholic court instituted to seek out and prosecute heretics.
inferior planets
the planets Mercury and Venus are called inferior planets because their orbits are closer to the Sun than is Earth's orbit.
interplanetary magnetic field (IMF)
the magnetic field carried with the solar wind.
a region of charged particales in a planet's upper atmosphere; the part of the Earth's atmosphere beginning at an altitude of about 25 miles and extending outward 250 miles or more.



Kelvin (°K)
0° Kelvin is absolute zero; water melts at 273° K (= 0° C = 32° F); water boils at 373° K (= 100° C = 212° F). (developed by William Thomson).
Kepler, Johannes 1571-1630
German astronomer and mathematician. Considered a founder of modern astronomy, he formulated the famous three laws of planetary motion. They comprise a quantitative formulation of Copernicus's theory that the planets revolve around the Sun. (16k jpg; 86k jpg; more)
kilogram (kg)
= 1000 grams = 2.2 pounds, the mass of a liter of water. (see also)
kilometer (km)
= 1000 meters = 0.62 miles.
Kowal, Charles T. 1940-
American astronomer; discovered Leda and the comet-like object 2060 Chiron (aka 95 P/Chiron).
Kuiper, Gerard 1905-1973
Dutch-born American astronomer best known for his study of the surface of the Moon; discovered Miranda and Nereid, found an atmosphere on Titan.


intersecting valley complex.
Lagrange, Joseph Louis 1736-1813
French mathematician and astronomer; made a number of contributions to the study of celestial mechanics. Lagrange showed that three bodies can lie at the apexes of an equilateral triangle which rotates in its plane. If one of the bodies is sufficiently massive compared with the other two, then the triangular configuration is apparently stable. Such bodies are sometimes refered to as Trojans. The leading apex of the triangle is known as the leading Lagrange point or L4; the trailing apex is the trailing Lagrange point or L5. (see also) (5k gif)
Lassell, William 1799-1880
British astronomer, discovered Neptune's largest satellite, Triton and (with Bond) discovered Saturn's moon Hyperion. A successful brewer before turning to astronomy.
Le Verrier, Urbain Jean Joseph 1811-1877
French astronomer whose prediction of the position of an undiscovered planet (Neptune) that caused perturbations in the orbit of Uranus was the first to be confirmed (by Galle) though Adams had made a similar prediction some months earlier.
an instrument similar to radar that operates at visible wavelengths.
the outer edge of the apparent disk of a celestial body
= 9.46053e12 km (= 5,880,000,000,000 miles = 63,239 AU); the distance traveled by light in a year.
elongate marking.
= 1000 cm3 = 1.06 US quarts
Lowell, Percival 1855-1916.
American astronomer. He founded the Lowell Observatory in Arizona (1894), where his studies of Mars led him to believe that the markings he saw on the surface were "canals" and therefore that the planet was inhabited by intelligent beings. His successors later discovered Pluto.


dark spot.
the region of space in which a planet's magnetic field dominates that of the solar wind.
the portion of a planetary magnetosphere which is pushed in the direction of the solar wind.
The degree of brightness of a celestial body designated on a numerical scale, on which the brightest star has magnitude -1.4 and the faintest visible star has magnitude 6, with the scale rule such that a decrease of one unit represents an increase in apparent brightness by a factor of 2.512. Also called apparent magnitude.
sea. (a very bad misnomer, still in use for historical reasons)
Marius, Simon 1573-1624
(a.k.a. Mayr) German astronomer who gave Jupiter's "Galilean" moons their names. He and Galileo both claimed to have discovered them in 1610 and likely did so independently. They become involved in a dispute over priority. Marius was also the first to observe the Andromeda Nebula with a telescope and one of the first to observe sunspots. (more)
mesa, flat-topped elevation.
used by astrophysicists to refer to all elements except hydrogen and helium, as in: "the universe is composed of hydrogen, helium and traces of metals".
1/1000 of a bar. Standard sea-level pressure is about 1013 millibars.
minor planets
another term used for asteroids.


Neujmin, Grigoriy N.
Ukrainian astronomer; discovered the asteroid 951 Gaspra.
a fundamental particle supposedly produced in massive numbers by the nuclear reactions in stars. They are very hard to detect since the vast majority of them pass completely through the Earth without interacting.
Newton, Isaac 1642-1727
English cleric and scientist; discovered the classical laws of motion and gravity; the bit with the apple is probably apocryphal. (10k jpg)
Nicholson, Seth Barnes 1891-1963
American astronomer; discovered Lysithea, Ananke, Carme and Sinope; also did important work on sunspots.
nuclear fusion
a nuclear process whereby several small nuclei are combined to make a larger one whose mass is slightly smaller than the sum of the small ones. The difference in mass is converted to energy by Einstein's famous equivalence E=mc2. This is the source of the Sun's energy therefore ultimately of (almost) all energy on Earth.


a planetary surface that has been modified little since its formation typically featuring large numbers of impact craters (compare young).
Oort, Jan Hendrik 1900-1992
Dutch astronomer made major contributions to knowledge of the structure and rotation of our galaxy. More or less as a sideline, Oort studied comets as well. The result of this work was a theory, now widely accepted, that the Sun is surrounded by a distant cloud of comet-stuff, now called the Oort cloud, bits of which are occasionally hurled into the solar system as comets.
shaped like an egg


shallow crater; scalloped, complex edge.
the outer filamentary region of a sunspot.
the point in its orbit where a planet is closest to the Sun. when refering to objects orbiting the Earth the term perigee is used; the term periapsis is used for orbits around other bodies. (opposite of aphelion)
Perrine, Charles Dillon 1867-1951
Argentine-American astronomer who discovered Himalia and Elara.
to cause a planet or satellite to deviate from a theoretically regular orbital motion .
the visible surface of the Sun; sunspots and faculae are observed in the photosphere.
bright regions seen in the solar chromosphere.
Pickering, William Henry 1858-1938
American astronomer. His photographs of Mars, among the earliest obtained, provided a basis for his opposition to Lowell's observations of supposed canals on Mars. Discovered Phoebe.
low plain.
plateau or high plain.
Pope, Alexander 1688-1744
English writer best remembered for his satirical mock-epic poems The Rape of the Lock and The Dunciad.
a strand of relatively cool gas in the solar corona which appears bright when seen at the edge of the Sun against the blackness of space.
Ptolemy, 2nd century AD
Alexandrian astronomer, mathematician, and geographer who based his astronomy on the belief that all heavenly bodies revolve around the Earth. (10k gif; more)



red giant
a star that has low surface temperature and a diameter that is large relative to the Sun.
Relativity, Theory of
more accurately describes the motions of bodies in strong gravitational fields or near the speed of light than newtonian mechanics. All experiments done to date agree with relativity's predictions to a high degree of accuracy. (Curiously, Einstein received the Nobel prize in 1921 not for Relativity but rather for his 1905 work on the photoelectric effect.)
the amount of small detail visible in an image; low resolution shows only large features, high resolution shows many small details
A state in which one orbiting object is subject to periodic gravitational perturbations by another.
rotation or orbital motion in a clockwise direction when viewed from the north pole of the primary (i.e. in the opposite sense to most satellites); the opposite of direct. The north pole is the one on the same side of the ecliptic as the Earth's north pole.
rift valley
an elongated valley formed by the depression of a block of the planet's crust between two faults or groups of faults of approximately parallel strike.
Roche limit
the closest a fluid body can orbit to its primary without being pulled apart by tidal forces. A solid body may survive within the Roche limit if the tidal forces do not exceed its structural strength.


line of cliffs produced by faulting or erosion.
lobate or irregular scarp.
semimajor axis
the semimajor axis of an ellipse (e.g. a planetary orbit) is 1/2 the length of the major axis which is a segment of a line passing thru the foci of the ellipse with endpoints on the ellipse itself. The semimajor axis of a planetary orbit is also the average distance from the planet to its primary. The periapsis and apoapsis distances can be calculated from the semimajor axis and the eccentricity by rp = a(1-e) and ra = a(1+e).
Shakespeare, William 1564-1616
English playwright and poet; wrote some good skits.
shepherd satellite
(or 'shepherd moon') a satellite which constrains the extent of a planetary ring through gravitational forces. (See Pandora for a nice image.)
of, relating to, or concerned with the stars. Sidereal rotation is that measured with respect to the stars rather than with respect to the Sun or the primary of a satellite.
a compound containing silicon and oxygen (e.g. olivine)
solar cycle
the approximately 11-year quasi-periodic variation in frequency or number of solar active events.
solar nebula
the cloud of gas and dust that began to collapse about 5 billion years ago to form the solar system.
solar wind
a tenuous flow of gas and energetic charged particles, mostly protons and electrons -- plasma -- which stream from the Sun; typical solar wind velocities are near 350 kilometers per second.
speed of light
= 299,792,458 meters/second (186,000 miles/second). Einstein's Theory of Relativity implies that nothing can go faster than the speed of light; Scotty and Geordi know better.
grass-like patterns of gas seen in the solar atmosphere.
stellar classification
Stars given a designation consisting of a letter and a number according to the nature of their spectral lines which corresponds roughly to surface temperature. The classes are: O, B, A, F, G, K, and M; O stars are the hottest; M the coolest. The numbers are simply subdivisions of the major classes. The classes are oddly sequenced because they were assigned long ago before we understood their relationship to temperature. O and B stars are rare but very bright; M stars are numerous but dim. The Sun is designated G2.
sublime (or sublimate)
to change directly from a solid to a gas without becoming liquid
subparallel furrows and ridges.
an area seen as a dark spot on the photosphere of the Sun; sunspots are concentrations of magnetic flux, typically occurring in bipolar clusters or groups; they appear dark because they are cooler than the surrounding photosphere.
superior planets
the planets Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are called superior planets because their orbits are farther from the Sun than Earth's orbit.
synchronous orbit radius
the orbital radius at which the satellite's orbital period is equal to the rotational period of the planet. A synchronous satellite with an orbital inclination of zero (same plane as the planet's equator) stays fixed in the sky from the perspective of an observer on the planet's surface (such orbits are commonly used for communications satellites).
synchronous rotation
said of a satellite if the period of its rotation about its axis is the same as the period of its orbit around its primary. This implies that the satellite always keeps the same hemisphere facing its primary (e.g. the Moon). It also implies that one hemisphere (the leading hemisphere) always faces in the direction of the satellite's motion while the other (trailing) one always faces backward.


deformation forces acting on a planet's crust.
the dividing line between the illuminated and the unilluminated part of the moon's or a planet's disk.
extensive land mass.
tile; polygonal ground.
small domical mountain or hill.
Thomson, William 1824-1907
aka Lord Kelvin, British physicist who developed the Kelvin scale of temperature supervised the laying of a trans-Atlantic cable. (10k gif)
tidal heating
frictional heating of a satellite's interior due to flexure caused by the gravitational pull of its parent planet and possibly neighboring satellites.
Tombaugh, Clyde 1906-
American astronomer; discovered Pluto. (4k gif)
a devotee of the science fiction program Star Trek.
an object orbiting in the Lagrange points of another (larger) object. This name derives from a generalization of the names of two of the largest asteroids in Jupiter's Lagrange points: 624 Hektor and 911 Agamemmnon. Saturn's satellites Helene, Calypso and Telesto are also sometimes called Trojans.


the dark central region of a sunspot.


sinuous valley.
Van Allen, James A.
American physicist who discovered the Earth's radiation belts (that now bear his name) with an instrument aboard the first successful Amerian satellite, Explorer 1.
widespread lowlands.
Verne, Jules 1828-1905
French writer who is considered the founder of modern science fiction. His novels include "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and "From the Earth to the Moon".
As a noun, this refers to substances that are gasses at ordinary temperatures. In astronomy it includes hydrogen, helium, water, ammonia, carbon dioxide and methane.


white dwarf
a whitish star of high surface temperature and low intrinsic brightness with a mass approximately equal to that of a Sun but with a density many times larger.



When used to describe a planetary surface "young" means that the visible features are of relatively recent origin, i.e. that older features have been destroyed (e.g. by erosion or lava flows). Young surfaces exhibit few impact craters and are typically varied and complex. In contrast an "old" surface is one that has changed relatively little over geologic time. The surfaces of Earth and Io are young; the surfaces of Mercury and Callisto are old.


Other Glossaries

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