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planet
A rotating body of substantial size held in orbit by the gravitational attraction of a star.

A planet is not self-luminous. It reflects starlight. Its own gravity pulls a planet into its most stable shape, a slightly flattened sphere.

This entry is located in the following unit: Astronomy and related astronomical terms (page 19)
Word Entries at Get Words containing the term: “planet
dwarf planet
A celestial body that orbits the sun and has a spherical shape but is not large enough to disturb other objects from its orbit.
This entry is located in the following unit: New Words (page 1)
exoplanet, extrasolar planet
A planet that orbits a star other than the sun.

Exoplanets are detected by observing their star's "wobble" which the exoplanet's gravitational attraction causes.

Scientists have spied a new exoplanet and not only is it the biggest one yet, but it’s also moving in the wrong direction

Unlike other planets, which orbit in the same direction as their stars rotate, "WASP-17" moves in the opposite way, according to a study published in Astrophysical Journal.

Instead of traveling around its host star in the same direction the star spins, like all other known planets, but this abnormal planet is orbiting backwards. Scientists think the renegade orb, named WASP-17, got flipped around during a near collision with another planet during its early development.

Planets are born from the same ball of rotating gas that creates their parent star, which is why they usually orbit, and spin, in the same direction as their "mother star". While WASP-17 is the first planet known to orbit backwards, some planets in our own solar system; such as, Venus, are spinning backwards. Like WASP-17, Venus may have experienced some kind of collision during its early history, which threw it into an unusual spin.

Researchers at South African Astronomical Observatory discovered the new exoplanet 1,000 light years away from Earth. In addition to its surprising orbit, the exoplanet stands out because of its size; in that, being only half the mass of Jupiter but twice its volume, the researchers claim WASP-17 is now the largest known planet.

WASP-17 marks the 17th exoplanet discovered by the Wide Angle Search for Planets, or WASP project, conducted by eight universities in the U.K.

Because exoplanets don’t give off any light of their own and are usually obscured by their super-bright host stars, the scientists find exoplanets by scanning hundreds of thousands of stars, looking for the subtle dimming that occurs when a planet passes in front its parent star.

Discover on line as 80 Beats;
"Oddball Planet Goes the Wrong Way & Is Dense as Packing Peanuts"
by Allison Bond; August 12th, 2009.

Wired Science; "Aack, No Brakes! Giant New Exoplanet Goes Wrong"
by Hadley Leggett; August 12, 2009.
This entry is located in the following unit: Astronomy and related astronomical terms (page 10)
Goldilocks planet
A planet that can support life because it is neither too hot nor too cold, too big nor too small, too near its star nor too far; one whose size, temperature and composition are all just right for life.
This entry is located in the following unit: Astronomy and related astronomical terms (page 12)
inferior planet
Any planet whose orbit is smaller than that of Earth.

The result is that Venus and Mercury are the two inferior planets of the solar system.

This entry is located in the following unit: Astronomy and related astronomical terms (page 13)
inferior planet conjunction
When a planet passes between the earth and the sun.
This entry is located in the following unit: Astronomy and related astronomical terms (page 13)
minor planet
One of a family of stony objects mostly orbiting between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

They probably represent planetesimals that failed to form a planet.

This entry is located in the following unit: Astronomy and related astronomical terms (page 16)
superior planet
Any planet that lies farther from the sun than the earth.

The superior planets are Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

This entry is located in the following unit: Astronomy and related astronomical terms (page 25)
superior planet conjunction
In conjunction or the alignment of two celestial bodies when they lie or pass behind the sun.
This entry is located in the following unit: Astronomy and related astronomical terms (page 25)