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Glossary

This page is meant to make it easier for you to understand the content of this web site. The glossary contains both astronomical and art terms.


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Nebula: A region which contains interstellar dust and gas and is illuminated by nearby stars. A nebula can also be lit up by stars within the nebula. Dark nebulae that block the light are called globules. Stars are born within nebulae.

Neutrino: Neutrinos are particles with little to none mass. They interact extremely rarely and are great in numbers. As a matter of fact each second billions of neutrinos fly though your body. Once in a lifetime, maybe your body will react with one neutrino. When astronomers suddenly detect many neutrinos it usually means that a supernova has gone off somewhere in the sky. Link: Fusion processes and radiation.

Neutron: An element of an atom. It is neutral in electric charge and holds together the atomic nucleus which otherwise consists of positively charged protons.

Neutron star: A remnant of a supernova explosion which consists of mainly neutrons. Neutron stars have masses greater than 1.4 solar masses and are extremely dense. A 1 cm^3 cube weighs about 10^14 kilos! Neutron stars are usually only a few kilometres across and spin extremely fast. If gas falls on to a neutron stars from a companion star, the neutron star will absorb it and accelerate the energy from it to be emitted from it's poles, like a lighthouses. The pulses of light are emitted in a very rapid rate, hence the name Link: Pulsars. for these objects. Link: Neutron stars.

Nova: A star that suddenly expels a huge amount of energy, experiencing a rapid increase in its luminosity which slowly fades back to its initial state. See stellar death for more information.

Nuclear fusion: The process in which two or more atoms merge to become one or more heavier elements. This process releases tremendeous amounts of energy. Link: Fusion processes and radiation.







 




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