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Glossary of Terms

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Select the first letter of the word from the list above to jump to appropriate section of the glossary. If the term you are looking for starts with a digit or symbol, choose the '#' link.

- S -


Ninth constellation of the zodiac. The Archer. A portion of the Milky Way runs through this constellation.

A ringed planet, this planet is sixth out from the Sun, taking 29.5 years to orbit. It is a Jovian planet, and is visible to the naked eye.

The eighth sign of the zodiac. Scorpius is the associated constellation.

The eighth constellation of the zodiac. In the skies, he is seen to pursue Orion.

The Dog Star. It is the brightest star in the sky, and is also a double star. Although this is not evident with the naked eye, the Dogon seemed to be aware that Sirius is really two stars. Also important to the Bushmen (San), Cheyenne, and the ancient Egyptians (among others). It is 8.8 light years away.

That which pertains to the Sun.
solar flare

A sudden eruption of radiation on the outer atmosphere of the Sun.
solar system

Although typically it is used to refer to our own system, this is the collective of a star (occasionally more than one), planets, asteroids, comets, moons, and interplanetary debris that orbit this star.
spectral class

A means of classifying stars based on spectral analysis. In most cases, the results correlate with temperature. The classes are O, B, A, F, G, K, M (ranked in order of what turns out to be decreasing surface temperature), as well as R, N, and S.

Stars are large globes of intensely heated gas, which shine by their own light.
the Star River

The Milky Way.

That which pertains to the stars.

Standing stones on Salsbury Plain, Britain, laid out with astronomical significance.
summer solstice

In the cycle of the year, the day with the longest portion of light and shortest portion of darkness. After this date, days grow shorter and nights longer. Also known as Midsummer, many cultures have found it important to demark this date. (June 21st)

The Sun is our solar system's star. It is a main sequence spectral class G star (relatively cool in temperature as these things go).
superior conjunction

The position of a superior planet, as viewed from Earth, when it is in the same direction of the sky as the Sun. At this point, it is on the other side of the Sun from the Earth.
superior planet

A planet whose orbit lies outside that of Earth's.
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Created by Searles and Deborah O'Dubhain,
Copyright 1996 by The Summerlands, Inc., All rights reserved
Page last updated:
08/30/98 03:56 PM