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Chapter 12 Textbook Definitions

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Shohini Ghose

Chapter 12: The Origin of the Solar System Solar Nebula Theory – a theory of formation of the solar system consistent with our current observations that supposes a rotating cloud of gas and dust gravitationally collapsed and flattened into a disk around the forming Sun at the centre, from which the planets were formed Asteroid – small, rocky world; most asteroids orbit between Mars and Jupiter in the asteroid belt Comet – one of the small, icy bodies that orbit the Sun and produce tails of gas and dust when they approach the Sun Volatile – easily evaporated Terrestrial Planets – small, dense, rocky worlds with little or no atmosphere Jovian Planets – large, low-density worlds with thick atmospheres and liquid or ice interiors Kuiper Belt – the collection of icy objects orbiting in a region from just beyond Neptune out to 50 AU+ Oort Cloud – the hypothetical source of comets, a swarm of icy bodies understood to lie in a spherical shell extending to 100,000 AU from the Sun Meteor – a small bit of matter heated by friction to incandescent vapour as it falls into Earth’s atmosphere Meteoroid – a meteor in space before it enters Earth’s atmosphere Meteorite – a meteor that survives its passage through the atmosphere and strikes the ground Carbonaceous Chondrite – stony meteorite that contains small glassy spheres called chondrules and volatiles; these chondrites may by the least-altered remains of the solar nebula still present in the solar system Meteor Shower – a display of meteors that appear to come from one point in the sky, understood to be cometary debris Half-Life – the time required for half of the radioactive atoms in a sample to decay Uncompressed Density – the density a planet would have if its gravity did not compres
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