The Astrophysicist’s Alphabet

Image credit: Galaxy Zoo.

Image credit: Galaxy Zoo.

“When I was having that alphabet soup, I never thought that it would pay off.” –Vanna White

Ever want an A-to-Z illustrated alphabet of astrophysics? Turns out that — other than writing your own via Galaxy Zoo — it doesn’t yet exist. So I thought it would be delightful to make one for you… right now!

A is for Aurora, polar lights fast and slow, the Sun’s hot electrons make the atmosphere glow.

Image credit: Andrew Hamilton of JILA / Colorado,

B is for Black hole, a star’s collapsed heart, once matter falls in, it will never depart.

C is for Comet, with tails, dust, and ice, a trip near the Sun makes them look very nice!

D is for Doppler, turning galaxies red, if you’re far, you’ll move fast, faster, fastest; you sped!

E is for Eclipse, where the Moon, Earth and Sun cast light-blocking shadows, and cause tons of fun.

F is for Fusion, that powers the stars, nuclei join together, and the light is all ours!

G is for Galaxies, in clusters and groups, with billions to find, no wonder we’re snoops!

H is for Hubble, the telescope from space, the sights it has seen help the whole human race.

I is for Ions, who make gas glow so bright, when they find electrons, we see colorful light.

J is for Jets, from a galaxy’s core, when it eats and spits matter, they’re active once more!

K is for Kelvin, with Helmholtz, stars will cool, so white dwarfs fade to black, it’s a great cosmic rule.

L is for Libration, which makes our Moon rock, it’s a trick of the orbit; it’s tidally locked!

M is for Meteors, which come in a shower, at the right time of year, you’ll see hundreds an hour!

N is for Nebula, planetary, in this case, when the Sun’s out of fuel, this is our fate in space.

O is for Opaque, why the Milky Way’s dark, without dust to block it, starlight would be stark!

P is for Pulsar, a spinning neutron star, as the orbits tick by, we know just when we are.

Q is for Quasars, great radio sources, distant, active galaxies eating like horses!

R is for Rings, all gas giants possess them, even one found in another sun’s system!

S is for Spacetime, which curves due to matter, this Universe-fabric, it bends but won’t shatter!

T is Type Ia, the best known supernova, when White Dwarfs collapse, your distance? We’ll know ‘ya!

U is the Universe, which we’re still understanding, with billions of galaxies, our spacetime’s expanding!

V is for Virgo, our nearest great cluster, with 1000+ galaxies, it’s a massive gut-buster!

W is for wavelength, the energies of light, it’s how we know what atoms are in stars just from sight!

X is for X-rays, which find starbursts (in red), where the most massive galaxies form stars dead ahead.

Y is the Year, where we orbit our Sun, each planet is different; the Earth is just one.

Z is for Zenith, so gaze up towards the sky! The Universe is here; let’s learn whathow and why.

Source: Science Blogs


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