Glossary

Almanac:
an annual publication containing tabular information in a particular field or fields often arranged according to the calendar. Almanacs often contain astronomical data and information such as the times of the rising and setting of the sun and moon, eclipses, hours of full tides as well as predications.
Asterism:
a group of stars that may form a picture. Asterisms are like constellations but generally contain fewer stars.
Asteroid:
any of numerous small celestial bodies that revolve around the sun. Sometimes called a minor-planet.
Astrology:
a form of divination through observation of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies.
Astronomy:
the study of the physical universe beyond the earth's atmosphere.
Celestial:
a description of things positioned in, or relating to the sky or outer space, as observed in astronomy.
Chinese Zodiac:
a rotating twelve year calendar based on the cycles of the moon. Each year is represented by a different animal. In astrology, the year of your birth determines your zodiac sign, each of which has a number of different personality traits.
Comet:
a frozen mass of gas and particles that orbits the sun.
Constellation:
a group of stars that seem to form a picture in the sky.
Divination:
the attempt to gain a foresight of future events, or insight into a question or situation by way of a standardized process or ritual. Often dismissed as superstition.
Eclipse:
a lunar eclipse happens when the earth moves between the sun and the moon, blocking part of the sun's light from reaching the moon. A solar eclipse happens when the moon moves between the earth and the sun. The sky slowly gets dark as the moon moves in front of the sun. A total eclipse happens when the moon and sun are in a perfect line. These are very rare. Most people only see one in their lifetime.
Galaxy:
a collection of stars, planets, dust and gas held together by gravity.
Light Year:
the distance light can travel in one year. Approximately 9,500,000,000,000 kilometres.
Mansion:
the lunar mansions are 28 divisions of the sky used in China to mark the progress of the moon on its orbit around Earth.
Milky Way:
sometimes called simply the galaxy, is the galaxy in which our solar system is located. It is one of billions of galaxies in the observable universe.
Nova:
a type of stellar explosion where a star ejects some of its material in the form of a cloud and become more luminous in the process.
Orbit:
the path followed by a planet, comet or satellite in its revolution around another object.
Planet:
a non-luminous celestial body that revolves around the sun. A planet is larger than an asteroid or comet and illuminated by light from a star, such as the sun.
Projection:
A map projection is any method of representing the surface of a sphere or other shape on a flat or two-dimensional plane.
Star:
a huge exploding sphere of hot gas (mostly hydrogen and helium) Stars shine by a process of nuclear reaction at their core that means they are constantly releasing energy. After a star runs out of fuel, it ejects much of its material back into space. New stars are formed from this material. So the material in stars is recycled.
Star Chart or Star Atlas:
a map of the stars and planets.
Sun spot:
a sunspot is a region on the surface of the sun—called the photosphere—that is temporarily cool and dark compared to surrounding regions.
Supernova:
a star that explodes and becomes extremely luminous in the process.
Yin and Yang:
in Chinese cosmology, the forces of nature are on a continuum between two forces male and female, negative and positive, dark and light, hot and cold etc. – everything contains a mixture of both, but one is usually dominant.