Questions tagged [terminology]

Questions regarding specific terms, names, or naming conventions.

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6
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2answers
324 views

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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1answer
91 views

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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1answer
90 views

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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1answer
82 views

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 ...
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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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74 views

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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1answer
162 views

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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39 views

Name of extra-terrestrial “moon's” orbital period? [duplicate]

Is there a commonly used alternative to "month"? Or does that work for any moon?
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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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1answer
45 views

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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1answer
126 views

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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1answer
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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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1answer
360 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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2answers
346 views

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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1answer
103 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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1answer
239 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
420 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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2answers
81 views

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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1answer
90 views

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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2answers
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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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2answers
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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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1answer
4k views

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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1answer
50 views

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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1answer
51 views

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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1answer
83 views

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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1answer
79 views

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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1answer
69 views

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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5answers
322 views

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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2answers
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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 ...
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1answer
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Are asteroid complexes and types the same?

Very novice astronomer here. I keep seeing terms like "S-Complex" thrown around when talking about asteroids, but no matter how much Googling I do I can't figure out what that exactly means (every ...
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2answers
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Terminology of Orbits

A hopefully simple terminology question: When you have an object that orbits another object in space, what do you call the object being orbited in relation to the object orbiting? For instance, you ...
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1answer
1k views

What are the “lines” in a constellation or asterism called?

Is there a technical term for the "lines" in a constellation or asterism? Alternatively, is there an astronomy related coloquialism or any informal term that refers specifically to these lines, and ...
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2answers
91 views

WMAP beam profile

What do people mean by the "beam" profile/model pertaining to WMAP? Search results are all rather packed with jargon. Is there a pictorial /layman explanation of it and how does it affect the data?
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1answer
128 views

Finding the number of stars n light-years from the sun

The nearby stars seem homogenously spaced out enough to give a general "stellar density." Does there exist some kind of mathematical expression that can determine the number of stars n light-years ...
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1answer
212 views

Is there a term for a horizontal moon crescent

I seen the other day the moon lit directly below or towards my horizon perfectly. My question, is there a term for when a moon's crescent is aligned with the viewer's horizon?
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3answers
201 views

Term for the moment when hydrogen fusion begins in a star

I have read of this process many times, but I don't think I know the term specifically for the moment when hydrogen fusion begins. What is this moment called?
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1answer
126 views

What is “superficial gravity”

I have seen the term superficial gravity used and it seems to be equivalent to surface gravity seen, e.g., here http://arxiv.org/pdf/1701.02295 Is there any difference between superficial and ...
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4answers
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Usage of $\sim$, $\approx$, $\simeq$, and $\cong$ in observational astronomy?

My understanding is $\sim$ generally means "on the order of magnitude of" e.g. $T \sim 10^5$ K $\approx$ is obviously "approximately equal to" so for example one might write $d \approx 400$ pc rather ...
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2answers
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So, what exactly is an 'ultra-cool' dwarf star?

The TRAPPIST-1 system is around an ultra-cool dwarf star. I went looking for more information on that kind of star, and found very little. The Wikipedia article on it lengthened from a minimal stub to ...
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2answers
335 views

Do astronomers generally agree that the distinction between comets and astroids is not so clear?

edit: I just saw this tweet and find it incredibly relevant :) begin question: First see this answer and then consider if there are known, or likely to be identified cases of solar system bodies that ...
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How close must a full moon be to become a supermoon?

According to this answer there is a scale of super moons depending on how close the full moon(henceforth anti-sol) is to perigee. So how close to anti-sol does the moon's perigee need to be to be ...
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1answer
408 views

If an earthquake happens on Mars, is it still an earthquake?

Or are seismic phenomenon named differently when they happen on other celestial bodies? If so, what are they called?
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2answers
329 views

What is left of a universe where no matter and energy exist and is there a term for this?

In the final energy state of the universe, there exists a hypothesis that all matter will have fallen into black holes and neutron stars. If, through Hawking radiation, after all matter is consumed ...
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2answers
81 views

Terminology: planet plus atmosphere vs planet and atmosphere as separate things

When discussing a rocky planet, is there any terminology to distinguish that you're talking about the whole thing, including the atmosphere, veruses that you're talking about the ocean + crust + ...
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4answers
962 views

What's the terminology of a meteor “ditch” when impact happens at an angle?

When a meteor hit the surface of a planet, it creates an impact crater. When an meteor hit the surface of a planet at an angle, like it usually happens in the movies, what do you call the long "ditch" ...
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2answers
174 views

Difference between “planetary ring” and “circumstellar disk”?

Related: Do/Can Ringed Stars Exist? Is there any particular difference, in behavior or properties, between a planetary ring system and a circumstellar disk? Or is the only real difference a matter of ...
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1answer
78 views

Term for the period between planet alignments?

Is there an established astronomical term for the period of time between alignments of pairs of planets? For example, Mars, Earth, and the Sun roughly align ever 780 Earth days. In my writing, I've ...