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N & O P Q & R S T, U & V W, X, Y & Z

Glossary: T

Tektite A small, glassy material formed by the impact of a large body, usually a meteor or asteroid. Tektites are commonly found at the sites of meteor craters.
Telescope An instrument that uses lenses and sometimes mirrors to collect large amounts of light from distant objects and enable direct observation and photography. A Telescope can also include any instrument designed to observe distant objects by their emissions of invisible radiation such as x-rays or radio waves.
Terminator  The sunset or sunrise line on the Moon or a planet.
Terrestrial A term used to describe anything originating on the planet Earth.
Terrestrial Planet A name given to a planet composed mainly of rock and iron, similar to that of Earth.
Tidal Force The differential gravitational pull exerted on any extended body within the gravitational field of another body.
Tidal Heating Frictional heating of a satellite's interior due to flexure caused by the gravitational pull of its parent planet and/or other neighboring satellites.
Transit The passage of a celestial body across an observer's meridian; also the passage of a celestial body across the disk of a larger one.
Trans-Neptunian Object Any one of a number of celestial objects that orbit the Sun at a distance beyond the orbit of the planet Neptune.
Trojan An object orbiting in the Lagrange points of another (larger) object. This name derives from a generalization of the names of some of the largest asteroids in Jupiter's Lagrange points. Saturn's moons Helene, Calypso and Telesto are also sometimes called Trojans.

Glossary: U

Ultraviolet Electromagnetic radiation at wavelengths shorter than the violet end of visible light. The atmosphere of the Earth effectively blocks the transmission of most ultraviolet light, which can be deadly to many forms of life.
Umbra The area of total darkness in the shadow caused by an eclipse.
Universal Time Coordinated Similar to Greenwich Mean Time , this is local time on the Greenwich meridian. GMT is based on the observation of the Sun, UTC is based on atomic clocks.  Always within 0.9s of each other.
Uranus 7th planet

Glossary: V

Van Allen Belts Radiation zones of charged particles that surround the Earth. The shape of the Van Allen belts is determined by the Earth's magnetic field.
Variable Star A star that fluctuates in brightness. These include eclipsing binaries.
Venus 2nd planet
Virgo Cluster A gigantic cluster of over 2000 galaxies that is located mainly within the constellation of Virgo. This cluster is located about 60 million light-years from Earth.
Visible Light Wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation that are visible to the human eye.
Visual Magnitude A scale used by astronomers to measure the brightness of a star or other celestial object. Visual magnitude measures only the visible light from the object. On this scale, bright objects have a lower number than dim objects.

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