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Earth and Space

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Earth and Space Acid rain: rainfall containing dissolved acids, released by industrial pollution, often from burning coal or oil in power stations. Acid rain causes extensive damage to trees and buildings.

Asteroid: a very small planet, usually found orbiting between Mars and Jupiter.

Big Bang: the colossal explosion which is believed to have begun the expansion of the Universe from a tiny piece of almost infinitely heavy material.

Biosphere: the part of the world in which life can exist, together with all of the life living in it.

Black hole: a collapsed giant star that has such powerful gravity that light itself cannot escape from it.

Continental drift: the gradual movement of continents over the Earth's surface during a very long period of time.

Continental shelf: sloping underwater plains which surround the continents before plunging into the deep ocean abyss.

Delta: the point at which a river empties into the sea or a lake, spreading out and becoming broad and shallow.

Eclipse: the passing of a planet into the shadow of another planet or moon.

Equator: an imaginary line drawn about the widest part of the Earth's circumference. It is the hottest area on Earth, because it is closest to the Sun.

Erosion: the gradual wearing away of rock or soil by natural means. Rivers, rain, ice, tides, extreme temperatures and windblown sand can all cause erosion.

Estuary: the lower course of a river on flat ground where its currents slow and it becomes wider.

Galaxy: a huge group of stars, gas and interstellar matter.

Geostationary satellite: a satellite that is 'parked' in orbit at a speed and height that means it always remains above exactly the same point on the Earth's surface.

Greenhouse gases: gases which trap the radiation from the Sun and are thought to raise the temperature of the Earth's surface. Carbon dioxide produced by many of man's activities are thought to contribute to the greenhouse effect.

Gulf Stream: a current of warm water crossing the Atlantic Ocean from the Gulf of Mexico, responsible for warming the west coast of Europe.

Igneous: rock that has been melted within the Earth.

Light year: the distance travelled by light in one year (9.46 trillion kilometres).

Magma: thick semi-molten rock on which tectonic plates float. Magma sometimes comes to the surface in a volcanic eruption.

Meteorite: a meteor that has fallen to the Earth's surface without being burned up as it passes through the atmosphere.

Meteorology: the study of the weather and prediction of future weather events.

Neutron star: a star composed almost entirely of neutrons, formed after the original star has burned out and collapsed. They are usually about 20 km in diameter, but have a mass as great as our Sun.
A very large neutron star produces such powerful gravitational effects that light cannot escape, and the star becomes what is known as a Black Hole.

Ozone layer: a layer of ozone (a form of oxygen) is high in the Earth's atmosphere. This helps to filter out the majority of the potentially dangerous ultraviolet radiation from the Sun.

Permafrost: permanently frozen layer of mud and debris laying below the solid surface, found in Alaska, Siberia and other northern regions.

Pulsar: a source of regularly repeated electromagnetic signals, thought to be given off by a rapidly spinning neutron star.

Quasar: mysterious celestial bodies giving off tremendous amounts of energy. Their nature is not understood.

Sedimentary: rock laid down in layers from material carried millions of years ago in rivers and in the sea.

Spectrum: the bands of colour formed when white light is split by passing it through a prism or a curved surface such as a raindrop.

Sun spots: dark patches that appear on the surface of the Sun. They are caused by enormous storms in its fiery atmosphere.

Tectonic plate: a large section of the Earth's crust that carries all or part of a continent. The plates float on the magma beneath and move very slowly.

Tsunami: a huge tidal wave that is caused by an undersea avalanche, earthquake or volcanic eruption. Tsunamis can cause immense damage.

Tags: tsunami, tectonic plate, eclipse, sun spots, biosphere

Category: Education  - ( Education Archive)

Date Added: 04 January '12

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