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syzygy

(Encyclopedia) syzygy sz´j, in astronomy, alignment of three bodies of the solar system along a straight or nearly straight line. A planet is in syzygy with the earth and sun when it is in…

opposition

(Encyclopedia) opposition, in astronomy, alignment of two celestial bodies on opposite sides of the sky as viewed from earth. Opposition of the moon or planets is often determined in reference to the…

planet

(Encyclopedia) planet [Gr.,=wanderer], a large nonluminous body of rock, gas, or ice that orbits the sun or another star, has a rounded shape due to gravity, and has cleared its orbit of smaller…

exoplanet

(Encyclopedia) exoplanet or extrasolar planet, a planet located outside the solar system. See planet; planetary system.

The Planets - Earth

Earth is not perfectly round; it bulges at the equator and is flatter at the poles. From space the planet looks blue with white swirls, created by water and clouds.Size: Four planets in our…

The Planets - Saturn

Saturn, the second-largest planet, has majestic rings surrounding it. Named for the Roman god of farming, Saturn was the farthest planet known by the ancients. Saturn's seven rings are flat…

The Planets - Neptune

Neptune, named for an ancient Roman sea god, is a stormy blue planet about 30 times farther from the Sun than Earth. Neptune was discovered when astronomers realized that something was…

The Planets - Uranus

Uranus is a greenish-blue planet, twice as far from the Sun as its neighbor Saturn. Uranus wasn't discovered until 1781. Its discoveror, William Herschel, named it Georgium Sidus (the…

The Planets - Jupiter

A belt of asteroids (fragments of rock and iron) between Mars and Jupiter separate the four inner planets from the five outer planets. Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, was…

The Planets - Venus

Venus is often called Earth's twin because the two planets are close in size, but that's the only similarity. The thick clouds that cover Venus create a greenhouse effect that keeps it…