Celestial Vocabulary: The A-Z of Outer Space

The outer space is an enormous expanse. We’re still uncovering the wonders of this vast unknown. WhiZo presents a glossary of fascinating space terms. Some of these may be recognisable to you. If not, there’s still more to discover!

TermMeaning
Asteroida tiny rocky object that orbits the sun between Mars and Jupiter
Black holethe core of a collapsed star where gravity is so strong that nothing can escape, not even light
Cometa small mass of rock and ice that orbits around the sun
Dwarf planeta small planet that does not fit the description of a planet (eg. Pluto)
Ecospherethe area around a star
Flaresudden burst of energy seen in space
Galaxyan extremely large collection of stars that extends over billions of light years
Hubble’s lawthe farther a galaxy is from us, the farther it is moving away from us
Interstellarthe space between stars of a galaxy
Jet streamhigh-speed winds that influence Earth’s weather
Kepler’s lawsthe three most important laws related to motion of planets
Light yearused to measure distance in space
Milky waythis spiral-shaped galaxy contains our solar system and hundreds of billions of stars
Nebulagiant cloud of dust and gas
Orbitcurved path taken by a celestial object around a star, moon or planet
Parallaxused to measure the distance of stars from the Earth
Quasarbright celestial object that is powered by the black hole
Rotationwhen a celestial body spins around its central axis
Supernovaviolent explosion seen as a result of the death of a star
Transitpassage of a celestial body
Umbrathe deepest and darkest area of a shadow created by a lit body that completely blocks all light
Voida large expanse of unoccupied space between galaxy clusters and superclusters
White holeit spews out matter and light
X-ray binariescontains a normal star as well as a dead/collapsed star
Yellow dwarfa white star, that appears like the Sun
Zodiacthe 12 zodiac constellations are represented by this imaginary belt in the sky

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