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Science Ch 5

TermDefinition
planets Any large body orbiting any star “wanderer”
perihelion The point in a planet’s orbit at which a it is nearest to the sun
aphelion The point in a planet’s orbit at which a it is furthest from the sun
Astronomical unit (a.u.) The earth’s average distance to the sun = 1a.u.
mass A measure of the amount of matter something contains
weight The force of gravity exerted on an object
Surface gravity The downward pull the planet exerts on objects at its surface
Inferior Planets Planets closer to the sun than earth; mercury and Venus
Phase (of a planet): the amount and shape of the planet’s illuminated surface that is visible from the earth.
transits A planet passes directly between the earth and the sun so that we see its dark silhouette against the sun’s bright disk
Superior Planets Planets whose orbits are further from the sun than earth’s orbit
Retrograde motion The planet appears to move backward compared to the background stars
Terrestrial planets “Earthlike”, Mercury, Venus, Mars
Jovian Jupiterlike planets
Gas giants One of the large, gaseous planets
Mercury the fastest revolving planet
Kepler developed three laws of planetary motion
Jupiter the largest planet in our solar system
Mars the red planet
ellipse shape of planet's orbit
albedo a planet's reflectivity
SETI the program for identifying radio transmissions from intelligent alien races