As with any field of scientific study, astronomy has a long list of important terminology. So we've put together this glossary where you can check you fully understand the meaning of the common terms, as well as some of the more unusual words.
A -- B -- C -- D -- E -- F -- G -- H -- I -- J -- K -- L -- M -- N -- O -- P -- Q -- R -- S -- T -- U -- V -- W -- X -- Y -- Z
Words beginning with 'M' :
Magnetosphere : the region around an astronomical object which is influenced by the object’s magnetic field.
Magnification : is the relationship between the telescope and the eyepiece used. It means you can look closer at objects, making the image bigger, with a higher magnification. This doesn't mean you have a better quality image.
Magnitude : measure of the brightness of a celestial object. The brighter the object, the higher the value; for example the magnitude of the Sun is -27.
Meridian : an imaginary line on the celestial sphere that goes from north to south and passes through the zenith.
Messier object : an astronomical object listed in the Messier catalog. Messier was a French astronomer who was a comet hunter, and created the list to distinguish other objects from comets to save time when searching for comets.
Meteor (aka shooting star) : a light produced by a solid particle entering Earth’s atmosphere at great speed (20 to 40 miles per second).
Meteor shower : a high number of meteor activity over a certain period of time. It occurs when the Earth passes trough a comet's stream of debris. Some of them occur at predictable times of the year such as the Leonids.
Meteorite : a solid object that survives passing through the atmosphere and lands on the Earth’s surface. They are mostly asteroids’ fragments.
Milky Way : the name given to our galaxy, which also represent the faint, milky glowing band seen in the night sky.
Mount : the structure supporting a telescope, allowing to point at different parts of the sky.
To support the quizzes in each section, we've put together some extra resources to provide further information:
- Articles - Alongside the quizzes, you'll find short articles on related topics, to help widen your knowledge of that area.
- Glossary - As with any field of scientific study astronomy has a long list of important terminology. So we've put together a glossary where you can check you fully understand the meaning of the more unusual words!