Star Tours Study Guide

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Introductory Vocabulary List

ASTEROID- a small rocky body orbiting the sun

COMET - a celestial object consisting of a nucleus of ice and dust and, when near the sun, a “tail” of gas and dust particles pointing away from the sun

EARTH - the planet on which we live; the world

GALAXY - a system of millions or billions of stars, together with gas and dust, held together by gravitational attraction

GRAVITY - the force that attracts a body toward the center of the earth, or toward any other physical body having mass

JUPITER - the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System

LIGHT SPEED - simply, the speed of light. It is the distance light can travel in a unit of time through a given substance

MARS - Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the most like our planet Earth

MERCURY - the smallest planet in our solar system and the planet closest to the sun

METEOR - a small body of matter from outer space that enters the earth's atmosphere, appearing as a streak of light as a result of friction

MILKY WAY - Our galaxy! The galaxy which contains the sun, the stars and the solar system

NEPTUNE - the eighth and farthest known planet from the Sun in the Solar System

ORION - a constellation on the equator east of Taurus represented on charts by the figure of a hunter with belt and sword

PLUTOIDS - a body orbiting beyond Neptune that is massive enough to be rounded in shape

SATURN - the sixth planet from the sun and the second-largest in the Solar System

TELESCOPE - an optical instrument designed to make distant objects appear nearer, containing an arrangement of lenses, or of curved mirrors and lenses, by which rays of light are collected and focused and the resulting image magnified

THE BIG BANG - the rapid expansion of matter from a state of extremely high density and temperature that according to current cosmological theories marked the origin of the universe

UNIVERSE - all existing matter and space considered as a whole; the cosmos. The universe is believed to be at least 10 billion light years in diameter and contains a vast number of galaxies

URANUS - seventh planet from the Sun in the Solar System

VENUS - Venus is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days

Additional Advanced Vocabulary

DARK MATTER - nonluminous (non-light) material that is theorized to exist in space and that could take any of several forms including weakly interacting particles ( cold dark matter ) or high-energy randomly moving particles created soon after the Big Bang

GEOCENTRISM - relating to Earth as center of the Solar System

GREGORIAN CALENDAR - the calendar now in use in western society, according to which the ordinary year consists of 365 days, and a leap year of 366 days occurs in every 4 years

HELIOCENTRISM - having or representing the sun as the center, as in the accepted astronomical model of the solar system

HERETIC - a person holding an opinion at odds with what is generally accepted

NOBEL PRIZE - any of six international prizes awarded annually for outstanding work in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, economics (since 1969), and the promotion of peace

SINGULARITY - a point at which a function takes an infinite value, especially in space-time when matter is infinitely dense, as at the center of a black hole

SOVIET UNION - a former communist country in eastern Europe and northern Asia; established in 1922; included Russia and 14 other soviet socialist republics (Ukraine and Byelorussia and others); officially dissolved 31 December 1991