Questions tagged [terminology]

Questions regarding specific terms, names, or naming conventions.

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2answers
116 views

How does one go about submitting a name for a newly-discovered lunar crater?

Suppose I discover an uncatalogued crater on the lunar surface, and decide to name it. How would I submit my proposed name to the IAU?
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How does one go about naming a lunar crater? [duplicate]

Suppose I discover an uncatalogued crater on the lunar surface, and decide to name it. How would I submit my proposed name to the IAU?
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What happened to the 2017 proposal on redefining planethood? Is this information available?

In 2017, Alan Stern et al. submitted a geophysical planet definition to the IAU for review which states “A planet is a sub-stellar mass body that has never undergone nuclear fusion and that has ...
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Launch windows for Venus transit; how to convert heliocentric longitudes to date?

Being a bit familiar with celestial mechanics, I know that the Hohmann transfer orbit is the quickest way to transfer between two circular orbits of different radii around a central body in the same ...
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Do the astronomical terms “spectral type” and “stellar classification” refer to exactly the same thing always?

Should the tags stellar-classification and spectral-type be merged? has been asked in meta two weeks ago. It requires some careful consideration but so far no response has been forthcoming, so I'm ...
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“Periapsis” or “Periastron”?

I was taught from Bate Mueller and White, that the proper terms for the closest and furthest points and distances from a body in orbit around another unspecified body are "periapsis" and &...
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Do our sun and moon have names?

We seem to have named every moon orbiting other planets. Why haven't we named our own moon? And for that matter, why doesn't our sun have a name since we name or number stars?
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Are falling evaporating bodies (FEBs) and exocomets the same thing? How does one know they're falling and evaporating?

Looking for a (short) list of comets with heliocentric escape velocity I stumbled upon Wikipedia's exocoments which like exoplanets, are bound to other stars. I should have been looking for "...
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141 views

What exactly is a Hamiltonian telescope? Is this one?

This comment on the current answer to Why is this telescope so short? How hard is it to make such a fast primary? says In this forum topic Borisov appears to call it an f/1.5 Hamiltonian. Wikipedia'...
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Does the Honey moon have a precession problem?

In Steven Colbert's interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson after about 03:16 the following is explained: But wait, all the moons - all the full moons of the year have ...
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What are “non-Keplerian” orbits? What are some familiar examples in our solar system, and can some still be closed?

This excellent answer to Forms of stellar orbits around the galactic center invokes the following concepts: non-Keplerian orbits closed orbits I have a fairly good idea what these mean and so might ...
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Is there an antonym for 'transit', i.e. the transit of a celestial body through the meridian

I'm writing software to calculate the rising, transit, and setting of a body on the celestial sphere for a specific location and date. It seems to me that the opposite of transit, at least in the case ...
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What exactly are “H30α and He30α images”? (ALMA)

I ran across this paper's title η Carinae: high angular resolution continuum, H30α and He30α ALMA images (arXiv) and see that the body of the paper also mentions "H40α, H30α and H29α". What ...
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Is lithium considered a metal in astronomy?

My lecture notes are conflicting on this issue so I seek definitive clarification. In Astronomy, are metals either A: the elements which form within stars (i.e., not Big Bang nucleosynthesis, where ...
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Can a pulsar also be a magnetar?

I know this is a simplistic question, but I cannot find a straight answer... Also, is it possible most or all neutron stars are magnetars and/or pulsars? It's just hard to see all of their properties ...
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Are the terms “PG 1159 star” and “pre-white dwarf” synonymous?

Are the terms "pre-white dwarf" (as in Gies et al. 2020, "Spectroscopic Detection of the Pre-White Dwarf Companion of Regulus") and "PG 1159 star" (as described, e.g. in ...
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What do the words “p-type” and “s-type” mean?

As explained in various sources (such as that answer), a planet in an s-type orbit orbits one of the stars of a binary star system, whereas a planet in a p-type orbit orbits both stars. A synonym for ...
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What does “additive fringing from the (multiplicative) twilights” mean?

The question How can I make the fringing pattern visible in my flat (twilight) images for filter i? includes: I have a bunch of twilight flats that have been preprocessed (dark, bias, overscan etc.)...
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Why is the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope (WFIRST) coronagraph considered “beyond-state-of-the-art”?

After about 01:30 in the NASA video NASA's Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope: Broadening Our Cosmic Horizons the narrator says: To deepen its study of exoplanets ...
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When was Hubble tension first noticed? When was this term first used?

When was Hubble tension first noticed? When was this term first used? Who used this term for the first time?
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Why are helium resonance lines called “resonance lines”?

Examples of the use of the term: Formation of the helium extreme-UV resonance lines On the Formation of the Resonance Lines of Helium in the Sun (unpaywalled) Formation of the helium EUV resonance ...
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Do Astronomers really never call Lagrangian points “libration points”?

In this answer to Who called the Lagrangian points as “Libration” points and and why was the terminology “Libration” used? I described my feeling that Lagrangian points were also sometimes called &...
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Astronomical Term *Mezzocielo*

What is the name of the point of intersection of the great circle passing through the celestial north pole P and the Zenith Z, with the celestial equator? (Point T in the figure) In Italian this point ...
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81 views

What exactly is a “conclusive association” in Astronomy?

Phys.org's Astronomers use slime mold model to reveal dark threads of the cosmic web says A computational approach inspired by the growth patterns of a bright yellow slime mold has enabled a team of ...
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What is the opposite of the vernal point?

The equator and the ecliptic cross at two nodes. One of those nodes is the vernal point. What is the other one called?
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Is there a distinction between NEOs and near-Earth asteroids? Is there a difference?

My "real question" is in Space Exploration Meta (neo (near-earth-object) and near-earth-asteroid tags, do we need both?), but I think that astronomers will be able to help understand the situation and ...
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When we say a variable star is “fainting” does it mean something more or different than “dimming” or “fading”?

A comment below the question Does the current “fainting” of Betelgeuse show any spectral trends that differ from it's normal variability? suggests that "dimming" would be a better term, but I have a ...
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Is there a general term used to identify the high flat features within Noctis Labyrinthus on Mars?

At the western end of Valles Marineris, where it mets Noctis Labyrinthus (highlighted section of image) there are a series of flat geological formations between the canyons. Is there a unique term ...
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What are other names for planetoids that aren't orbiting a solar system, but hurtling through space?

I'm trying to think of a good word for an asteroid/planetoid that has no stable orbit but has been ejected from a system and is passing close to a sun. Any help?
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What do you call it when a satellite goes once around its planet?

When a planet or a satellite turns around itself, its called a rotation. When a planet goes once around the Sun, it's called a revolution. What do you call it when a satellite goes once around its ...
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What is an “Off Rowland-circle Telescope”?

The NASA Goddard news item NASA to Demonstrate New Star-Watching Technology with Thousands of Tiny Shutters says: The technology, called the Next-Generation Microshutter Array (NGMSA), will fly for ...
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686 views

Is intrastellar commonly used by astronomers to refer to objects within our solar system?

The CNET article Interstellar comet Borisov looks ordinary, making Oumuamua even weirder says: A paper published Monday in Nature Astronomy lays out the early data on Borisov, which is just the ...
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Does astro means space or stars [closed]

In the popular TV show The Big Bang Theory Season 3, Episode 4, Sheldon Cooper said that astro means star and Raj said astro means space, I got a little confused here, various websites and others are ...
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137 views

Origins and most frequently used; perinigricon vs peribothron?

Gizmodo.com's Astronomers Spot Unprecedented Flashes From Our Galaxy's Black Hole mentions Sgr A*'s companion gas cloud G2 and that Wikipedia article uses the term perinigricon, but that mentions ...
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Sorting out Julian Day, Julian Date, Julian Day number, Julian Day Calendar, and Julian Day Table

In this answer I mention day number which is 1 on the first day of each calendar year (January 1) and increments to 365 or 366 on December 31 of that year. There was an edit proposed, which included ...
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1answer
658 views

Word for blue ring around the Earth

From certain positions in outer space the Earth will appear to have a blue ring around it when the viewer is in the shadow of the Earth and sunlight is passing through the atmosphere. Here is a ...
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Is there a term for asteroseismology as applied to giant planets?

Giant planets such as Jupiter have oscillations which enable analyses using the techniques of asteroseismology, for example Gaulme et al. (2011) detected global modes on Jupiter via radial velocity ...
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What is the name of meteoroids which hit Moon, Mars, or pretty much anything that isn’t the Earth?

A meteorite according to the Oxford English Dictionary is A piece of rock or metal that has fallen to the earth's surface from outer space as a meteor. But, meteors impact other planets. Are they ...
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Are there recommendations to use “Hubble-Lemaître constant” instead of “Hubble constant”?

The IAU recommends renaming the Hubble law as the Hubble-Lemaître law, as discussed at its General Assembly in 2018 (see this press release and the links therein). I have now stumbled upon an ...
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Adjective for things outside our solar system

I know we have "exoplanets" etc. but those are nouns for specific objects outside our solar system. We have extraterrestrial for objects outside Earth's atmosphere, but I don't know if we have a ...
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What (the heck) is a Super Worm Equinox Moon?

Google News feed shows me the following. What does the term "Super Worm Equinox Moon" mean and has it ever been used before this 2019 clickbait instance?
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Terminology for empty space at the edge of the observable universe?

Is there a name for a point at the edge of the observable universe at which there is no visible matter, that appears completely dark? I'm thinking something like "empty space", but that could equally ...
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What's the reason that we have a different number of days each month?

It always was interesting for me to understand the answer for the question: What's the reason that we have a different number of days each month? If the month is fixed on the time that the moon ...
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Does the KBO 2014-MU69 have two numbers and entries in asteroid databases? How did it get promoted to Major Body designation?

In this answer I show that the (now pretty famous) Kuiper Belt Object 2014-MU69 has two entries in JPL's ephemeris generating Horizons site; Major Body ...
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Does astronomical observing “count” as remote sensing?

I have long considered astronomical observing as a form of remote sensing, though quite different than typical remote sensing in that many objects observed are not resolved. I am wondering, though, ...
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Logarithmic scale for large distances?

I understand this is an icky subject, but I recently got interested in units for large distances for applications in cosmology and what not (after hearing about the redefinition of the kilo and kelvin)...
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Terminology question: gas giant vs gas planet

While not exactly the most exciting question, I'm wondering: is there any real, semantic difference between a gas planet and gas giant, or are the two terms used interchangeably by most in popular ...
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What exactly are the “ν6 secular Sun-Jupiter-Saturn” and the “1:4 Sun-Jupiter” resonances?

In the recent Acta Astronautica article The edge of space: Revisiting the Karman Line, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics astronomer, Space SE contributor and "inverse namesake" of asteroid (...
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Do astronomers have an established, systematic way for saying what does or doesn't orbit what? (e.g. “Mars orbits Earth”)

A recent comment An object far enough away can certainly orbit the Moon and the Earth (and the Sun) -- Mars, for instance does this. An object in the Earth-Moon L2 is also orbiting both the Earth ...
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How does an eclipse differ from an occultation?

A comment in response to this question suggests that an eclipse differs from an occultation in that the former casts a shadow while the latter doesn't. This isn't particularly satisfactory since ...