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Astronomy (53)
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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 Textbook Definitions

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Shohini Ghose

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Chapter 2: Guide to the Sky: Patterns and Cycles Constellations – one of the stellar patterns identified by name, usually of mythological gods, people, animals, or objects Asterism – a named grouping of stars that is not one of the recognized constellations Magnitude Scale – the astronomical brightness scale; the larger the number, the fainter the star Apparent Visual Magnitude – a measure of the brightness of a star as seen by human eyes on Earth Flux – a measure of the flow of energy out of a surface; usually applied to light Celestial Sphere – an imaginary sphere of very large radius surrounding Earth to which the planets, stars, Sun, and Moon seem to be attached Scientific Model – a concept that helps you think about some aspect of nature without necessarily being true Precession – the slow change in orientation of the Earth’s axis of rotation - one cycle takes nearly 26,000 years Zenith – marks the top of the sky above your head Nadir – marks the bottom of the sky directly under your feet You can measure distances on the sky as angular distances in degrees, minutes of arc, and seconds of th th arc. An arc minute is 1/60 of a degree and an arc second is 1/60 of a minute. The angular diameter of an object is the angular distance from one edge to the other. North Celestial Pole – located directly above Earth’s North Pole Rotation – motion around an axis passing through the rotating body Revolution – orbital motion about a point located outside the orbiting body Ecliptic – the apparent path of the Sun around the sky Event Date Season Vernal equinox March 20 Spring begins Summer solstice June 22 Summer begins Autumnal equinox September 22 Autumn begins Wi
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