Science Quiz / Terms for the Amateur Astronomer A-Z

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How many astrophysics terms can you name?

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First LetterTermDefinition
A The scientific study of the Universe.

BA highly condensed region of matter, with a gravitational attraction so strong that anything that comes too close to it cannot escape.

CRelating to the universe or cosmos.

DA star of relatively small size and low luminosity. Most main sequence stars of this type.

EPlanets orbiting stars other than our Sun.

FA constellation in the southern sky, partly ringed by the celestial river Eridanus. Its name is Latin for furnace.

GA huge collection of stars – often many thousands of millions – and associated dust and gas.

HA very famous Earth-orbiting optical, ultraviolet space telescope launched in 1990 (named after the scientist).

IThe innermost of the four Galilean moons of the planet Jupiter.

JThe fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System.

KA German scientist (1571-1630) that proposed three laws of planetary motion based on his analysis of Tycho Brahe's observations of the orbits of the planets.

LThe distance light travels in a year or about 9,460,000 million kilometers.

MThe bright band of stars stretching across the night sky. This is also a common nickname for our Galaxy.

NA neutral particle found in the nucleus of atoms heavier than hydrogen. Also a type of star.

OA prominent constellation located on the celestial equator and visible throughout the world.

PA relatively small, spherical body that orbits a star, for instance, the Earth.

QThe smallest ‘unit’ of energy. Also an area of study in physics.

RStars that have low effective temperatures, so appear orange or reddish but have high luminosity.

SThe Sun and other bodies associated with it: the eight planets and their moons, as well as comets, asteroids and dust and gas.

TThe indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.

UPart of the electromagnetic spectrum between the visible and X-ray regions. Type of light.

VThe speed of something in a given direction.

WThis is the stage at which a star runs out of fuel and is near the end of its life, despite its core burning hotter than ever.

XRadiation that is part of the electromagnetic spectrum between the UV and gamma-ray components. We also have this on earth.

YWhen used to describe a planetary surface, this term means that the visible features are of relatively recent origin.

ZAn imaginary belt across the sky in which the Sun, Moon, and all of the planets can always be found. Related to astrology.

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