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Structure of the Universe

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Submitted By fishmanr
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Chapter 1: Our Place in the Universe 1.1 Our Modern View of the Universe * Geocentric universe: Earth-centered * Solar system: the Sun and all the objects that orbits it * Our solar system formed 4.5 billion years ago * Galaxy: great island of stars in space, having from a few hundred million to a trillion or more stars * Milky Way Galaxy contains more than 100 billion stars; our Milky Way is in the Local Group * Galaxy cluster: collection of galaxies bound together by gravity. Small collections (up to a few dozen) are generally called groups, while larger collections are called clusters * Supercluster: gigantic region of space where many individual galaxies and many groups and clusters of galaxies are packed more closely together than elsewhere in the universe * Universe (cosmos): the sum total of all mater and energy * Observable Universe: the portion of the entire universe that can be seen from Earth * Universe is expanding, Big Bang occurred 14 billion years ago * Planet: moderately sized object that orbits a star and shines primarily by reflecting light from its star; an object is a planet if it (1) orbits a star, (2) is large enough for its own gravity to make it round, and (3) has cleared most other objects from its orbital path * Dwarf planet: object that meets the first two criteria but not the third, like Pluto * Moon (or satellite): an object that orbits a planet * Asteroid: a relatively small and rocky object that orbits a star * Comet: a relatively small and ice-rich object that orbits a star * Small solar system body: an asteroid, comet, or other object that orbits a star but is too small to qualify as a planet or dwarf planet * Star system: a star (sometimes more than one star) and any planets and other materials that orbit it * Star: large, glowing ball of gas that…...

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