Vocabulary - Definitions and Context

Cover-Stars
Astronomer:
a scientist who studies outer space
Context: Wouldn’t it be awesome to be an astronomer and work at McDonald Observatory in west-Texas?
Astronomy:
the science of studying outer space
Context: George Observatory at Brazos Bend State Park has great programs for kids who want to learn about astronomy!
Big Dipper:
this group of stars is part of the constellation Ursa Major, or Big Bear
Context: In Texas, you can see the Big Dipper all year round.
Constellation:
a group of stars visible within an area of the night sky
Context: Look for the constellation Leo in our Texas skies during springtime.
Galaxy:
a group of stars, planets, and dust held together by gravity
Context: We live in a galaxy called the Milky Way.
Leonid meteor shower:
a meteor shower that happens each November
Context: Early morning, before the sun rises, is often the best time to watch the Leonid meteor shower.
Light pollution:
Misdirected, misused, or just too much light that creates a glow in the sky
Context: The glow from light pollution keeps our night skies from being as black as they used to be.
Light-year:
the unit used to measure how far apart things are in outer space
Context: A single light-year equals a distance of 5,865,696,000,000 miles! Whoa! That’s a loooong way!
Little Dipper:
this group of stars is part of the constellation Ursa Minor, or Little Bear
Context: The North Star, or Polaris, sits on the very tip of the handle of the Little Dipper.
Meteor shower:
a display of lots of meteors streaking through the sky per hour
Context: Watch the Perseid meteor shower and you might see 80 meteors in one hour!
Meteor:
created when space dust enters our atmosphere at super speed
Context: When you see a shooting star you're really seeing a meteor!
Meteorite:
a piece of a meteor that survives its journey through our atmosphere
Context: A meteorite looks like a rock, but will be extra heavy because it'll likely contain lots of metal.
Milky Way:
the name of the galaxy that Earth is in
Context: The Milky Way contains 200 to 400 billion stars!
Perseid meteor shower:
a meteor shower that happens each August
Context: Watch the Perseid meteor shower and you might see up to 80 meteors in one hour!

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