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an of the rocky objects larger than a few hundred meters in diameter that orbits the sun
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an of the rocky objects larger than a few hundred meters in diameter that orbits the sun
asteroid belt
a 1.5 astronomical unit wide region between the orbits of mars and jupiter in which most of the asteroids are found
belt asteroid
an asteroid whose orbit lies in the asteroid belt
kirkwood gaps
gaps in the spacing of asteroid orbits discovered by daniel kirkwood caused by gravitational attractions of planets
stable lagrange points
locations throughout the solar system where the gravitational forces from the sun and a planet keep space debris trapped
trojan asteroid
one of several asteroids at stable lagrange points that share jupiter's orbit about the sun
apollo asteroid
an asteroid that is sometimes closer to the sun than the earth is
a small body of ice and dust in orbit about the sun. while passing near the sun, a comet's vaporized ices give rise to a coma, tails, and a hydrogen envelope
kuiper belt
a doughnut-shaped ring of space around the sun beyond pluto that contains many frozen comet bodies, some of which are occasionally deflected toward the inner solar system
oort cloud
a hollow spherical region of the solar system beyond the kuiper belt where most comets are believed to spend most of their time
a collection of ices and dust that constitute the solid part of a comet
the nearly spherical, diffuse gas surrounding the nucleus of a comet near the sun
hydrogen envelope
an extremely large, teuous sphere of hydrogen gas surrounding the head of a comet
gas and dust particles from a comet's nucleus that have been swept away from the comet's nucleus by the radiation pressure of sunlight and impact of the solar wind
gas tail
the relatively straight tail of a comet produced by the solar wind acting on ions in a comet's coma
dust tail
a comet tail caused by dust particles escaping from the comet's nucleus
radiation pressure
the transfer of momentum carried by radiation to an object on which the radiation falls
long period comet
a comet that takes tens of thousands of years or more to orbit the sun once
short period comet
a comet that orbits the sun in the vicinity of the planets, thereby reappearing with tails every 200 years or less
a small rock in interplanetary space
the streak of light seen when any space debris vaporizes in the earth's atmosphere; a shooting star
impact crater
a crater on the surface of a planet or moon produced by the impact of an asteroid, meteoroid, or comet
meteor shower
frequent meteors that seem to originate from a common point in the sky
stony meteorite
a meteorite composed of rock with very little iron; also called a stone
iron meteorite
a meteorite composed primarily of iron with an admixture of nickel; also called an iron
widmanstatten pattern
crystalline structure seen inside iron meteorites
stony iron meteorite
a meteorite composed of roughly equal amounts of rock and iron
carbonaceous chondrite
a class of extremely ancient, carbon-rich meteorites
amino acid
a class of chemical compounds that are the building blocks of proteins

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