MAA Glossary


Celestial latitude
Angle north or south of the ecliptic to the object.

Celestial longitude
Angle measured eastward along the ecliptic from the vernal equinox to foot of the circle perpendicular to ecliptic and passing through the object.

A body of the solar system, composed of ices and rocks. The frozen material evaporates as the comet approaches the sun and, driven away by the solar wind, forms the comet tail.
(More information can be found here.)

Having the same right ascension or, more precisely, the same longitude as the sun. An inferior planet has two types: inferior conjunction, when the planet lies between the sun and earth, and superior conjunction, when it lies on the far side of the sun.

A group of stars, named for some object, animal, or mythical figure.

Faint white extensions of the outer solar atmosphere, best seen at a total eclipse of the sun.