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Definitions (479)

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host galaxy


A galaxy in which a cosmic phenomenon, such as a supernova explosion or a gamma-ray burst, has occurred.
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absorption


The process by which light transfers its energy to matter. For example, a gas cloud can absorb starlight that passes through it. After the starlight passes through the cloud, dark lines called absorption lines appear in the star’s continuous spectrum at wavelengths corresponding to the light-absorbing elements.
Source: hubblesite.org

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atmosphere


The layer of gases surrounding the surface of a planet, moon, or star.
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differentiation


The separation of heavy matter from light matter, thus causing a variation in density and composition. Differentiation occurs in an object like a planet as gravity draws heavier material toward the planet’s center and lighter material rises to the surface.
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mantle


The interior region of a terrestrial (rocky) planet or other solid body that is below the crust and above the core.
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radioactivity


The spontaneous decay of certain rare, unstable, atomic nuclei into more stable atomic nuclei. A natural by-product of this process is the release of energy.
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rocky planet


A planet located in the inner solar system and made up mostly of rock. The rocky planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. This group is also known as terrestrial planets.
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absolute brightness


A measure of the true brightness of an object. The absolute brightness or magnitude of an object is the apparent brightness or magnitude it would have if it were located exactly 32.6 light-years (10 parsecs) away. For example, the apparent brightness of our Sun is much greater than that of the star Rigel in the constellation Orion because it is so [..]
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absolute zero


The coldest possible temperature, at which all molecular motion stops. On the Kelvin temperature scale, this temperature is the zero point (0 K), which is equivalent to –273° C and –460° F.
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absorption line


A dark line in a continuous spectrum caused by absorption of light. Each chemical element emits and absorbs radiated energy at specific wavelengths, making it possible to identify the elements present in the atmosphere of a star or other celestial body by analyzing which absorption lines are present.
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