Solar System Vocabulary

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asteroid
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An irregularly shaped rock that orbits the Sun.
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asteroid belt
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The area in space between Mars and Jupiter where most asteroids orbit together. It will not help hold up your pants!!
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atmosphere
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A layer of gases surrounding a planet, star, or moon.
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comet
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A space object made of ice and dust that orbits a star and develops a long, bright tail as it nears its star. Haley’s is a famous one!
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core
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The center of an object. (Think about an apple.)
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crater
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A hole in the ground caused by the impact of an object from space. The moon looks like swiss cheese because it has so many.
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dwarf planet
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a nearly round object that orbits a star, This is smaller than a planet, and is not a satellite of another object. Think~Pluto!
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Earth
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The third planet from the Sun; the planet we live on. Easy one!!
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gas giant
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A large planet that is mainly made up of gases. Think~Outer Planets
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gravity
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The force that pulls all objects toward each other. Without it we would float away!
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Jupiter
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The largest planet in our solar system and the fifth from the Sun; a gas giant.
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Kuiper Belt
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An area of our solar system beyond the orbit of Neptune where a group of minor planets and other objects orbit the Sun.
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Mars
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A small reddish planet that is fourth from the Sun; a terrestrial planet,
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Mercury
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The smallest planet in our solar system and the closest to the Sun; a terrestrial planet.
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Moon
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Earth’s only natural satellite: A “Blue” one would be the 2nd full one we see in a month.
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Neptune
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A large blue planet that is eighth from the Sun; a gas giant.
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orbit
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This means to revolve around another object. Our Moon does this to Earth.
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Pluto
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A dwarf planet that was discovered in 1930 and that was once considered a planet.
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revolution
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A single journey along an orbital path. It takes Earth 365 1/4 days to do this around the sun.
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rotation
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A single turn of something around an axis or a fixed point; spinning. It takes Earth 24 hours!
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Saturn
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A planet with large rings around it that is sixth from the Sun; a gas giant.
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solar system
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A group of objects in space that orbit a star There are 8 planets in ours!
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star
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A body in outer space, made of hot gases, that shines in the night sky (Our Sun is one of these!)
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terrestrial
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This word means “like Earth”. It describes planets that are rocky and Earthlike in size. Think~Inner Planets
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Uranus
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A large blue-green planet that is seventh from the Sun; a gas giant.

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