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Stapp/Foreman 8

Solar System Components

TermDefinition
celestial objects objects such as planets, moons, and stars that are located in the sky or in space
system a group of interacting or interdependent parts forming a complex whole; for example, all the factors or variables in an environment, or all the planetary bodies revolving around a star
solar system the Sun together with the group of planets and other celestial bodies that are held by its gravitational attraction and revolve around it
gravity the force that causes objects with mass to attract one another
orbital path the gravitationally-curved path of an object around a point in space
sun the luminous celestial body around which Earth and other planets revolve and from which they receive heat and light
star a ball of gas in space that produces its own light, heat, and other forms of energy
planet a ball of gas in space that produces its own light and heat
inner planet any of the rocky, terrestrial planets of Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, whose orbits are inside the asteroid belt
rocky made of rocks
terrestrial Similar to earth (Earth-like)
outer planet any of the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, whose orbits lie beyond the asteroid belt
asteroids large and small rocky or metallic masses orbiting the Sun; made up of materials similar to those that formed the planets
asteroid belt the region between the inner and outer planets where most asteroids orbit around the Sun
meteoroid a natural chunk of rock or dust existing outside of Earth’s atmosphere
meteorites remains of meteoroids that strike the surface of Earth or the Moon
satellite something that orbits around another object; for example, a moon orbiting a planet or a human-made object orbiting Earth
moon a celestial body that revolves around a planet
Galilean moons the four largest and brightest moons of Jupiter, which were discovered by Galileo Galilei: Ganymede, Io, Callisto, and Europa
comet a celestial body of ice, dust, and rock with an elongated and elliptical orbit
coma glowing, heated dust and vaporized gas that surrounds the icy comet nucleus as it travels near the Sun; solar winds cause heated gases to stream out of the nucleus, forming a tail, which points away from the Sun
meteor a small object that enters Earth's atmosphere from space and burns due to friction, emitting light