Major Funding The Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation



Exoplanets: Glossary

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51 Pegasi
51 Pegasi is a Sun-like star located 50.9 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Pegasus. It was the first main-sequence star found to have an exoplanet orbiting it

A

analyze
study or investigate
astronomers
a scientist who studies planets, comets and other space bodies
atmosphere
the air or gases that surround a planet

B

bacteria
a one celled living organism

C

carbon dioxide
a gas given off by animals and taken in by plant
composition
what something is made of; the ingredients or parts making up a substance or object
compressed
to squeeze together
coronograph
an attachment to a telescope designed to block out direct light from a star so that dimmer objects nearby can be seen

D

debris disk
disks of dust and other solid material in orbit around a star; the "leftovers" of the process of planet formation that may indicate presence of exoplanets
decompression
to separate out from a compressed version - spread apart
demoted
to categorize something on a lower level
detected
to find or see
determine
to find or see or understand
diverse
having many differences in type or character, unlike others
Doppler shift
change in the frequency of a wave
dwarf planets
a space body too small to be called a planet

E

enhance
make better
exoplanets
planets that exist orbiting stars other than our own sun
extrasolar planets
planets that exist orbiting stars other than our own sun

G

galaxy
a large system of stars
gaseous
to contain or be made of gas
gravitational
related to gravity

H

habitable zone
the distance from a star most likely to have conditions right for life on a planet

I

inaccurate
not quite true
infared
electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths longer than the red end of the visible light spectrum

L

light-year
distance light travels in one Earth year or 9,500,000,000,000 kilometers (about 93 million miles)

O

orbiting
the curved path of a planet around its sun

P

phenomenon
unusual wonders of space
pulsar
when a massive star runs out of fuel and collapses in on itself, the explosion leaves a very dense neutron star that emits pulses of radiation at regular intervals - a pulsar

R

radial velocity
the speed of an object as it moves toward or away from an observer
repurpose
use for a different purpose than originally intended
rogue planet
a lonely, nonconforming planet

S

satellite
a body that orbits another body
spectroscopy
the study of light passing through matter
starshade
a device positioned between a space-based telescope and a star being observed, intended to block the light from a planet

T

technology
the science of useful tools
transiting
the passage of a planet across its sun

U

universe
all of time, space and its contents

V

venture
project

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