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Astronomical object

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Astronomical object

Asteroid Ida with its own moonMimas, a natural satellite of Saturn
Comet LovejoyPlanet Jupiter, a gas giant
The Sun, a G-type starStar Sirius A with white dwarf companion Sirius BThe Crab Nebula, a remnant of a supernova explosion that was seen in the year 1054
Black hole (artist's animation)Vela pulsar, a rotating neutron star
Globular star cluster Messier 80The Pleiades, an open star cluster
The Whirlpool galaxyGalaxy cluster Abel 2744
The Hubble Ultra-Deep Field 2014 image with an estimated 10,000 galaxiesMap of galaxy superclusters and filaments
Selection of astronomical objects

An astronomical object or celestial object is a naturally occurring physical entity, association, or structure that current science has demonstrated to exist in the observable universe.[1] The term astronomical object is sometimes used interchangeably with astronomical body. Typically, an astronomical (celestial) body refers to a single, cohesive structure that is bound together by gravity (and sometimes by electromagnetism). Examples include the asteroids, moons, planets and the stars. Astronomical objects are gravitationally bound structures that are associated with a position in space, but may consist of multiple independent astronomical bodies or objects. These objects range from single planets to star clusters, nebulae or entire galaxies. A comet may be described as a body, in reference to the frozen nucleus of ice and dust, or as an object, when describing the nucleus with its diffuse coma and tail.

The universe can be viewed as having a hierarchical structure.[2] At the largest scales, the fundamental component of assembly is the groups and clusters, often within larger superclusters, that are strung along great filaments between nearly empty voids, forming a web that spans the observable universe.[3] Galaxies and dwarf galaxies have a variety of morphologies, with the shapes determined by their formation and evolutionary histories, including interaction with other galaxies.[4] Depending on the category, a galaxy may have one or more distinct features, such as spiral arms, a halo and a nucleus. At the core, most galaxies have a supermassive black hole, which may result in an active galactic nucleus. Galaxies can also have satellites in the form of dwarf galaxies and globular clusters.

The constituents of a galaxy are formed out of gaseous matter that assembles through gravitational self-attraction in a hierarchical manner. At this level, the resulting fundamental components are the stars, which are typically assembled in clusters from the various condensing nebulae.[5] The great variety of stellar forms are determined almost entirely by the mass, composition and evolutionary state of these stars. Stars may be found in multi-star systems that orbit about each other in a hierarchical organization. A planetary system and various minor objects such as asteroids, comets and debris, can form in a hierarchical process of accretion from the protoplanetary disks that surrounds newly formed stars.

The various distinctive types of stars are shown by the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram (H–R diagram)—a plot of absolute stellar luminosity versus surface temperature. Each star follows an evolutionary track across this diagram. If this track takes the star through a region containing an intrinsic variable type, then its physical properties can cause it to become a variable star. An example of this is the instability strip, a region of the H-R diagram that includes Delta Scuti, RR Lyrae and Cepheid variables.[6] Depending on the initial mass of the star and the presence or absence of a companion, a star may spend the last part of its life as a compact object; either a white dwarf, neutron star, or black hole.

Contents

  • Categories by location 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Categories by location

The table below lists the general categories of objects by their location or structure.

Solar bodies Extrasolar
Simple bodies Compound objects Extended objects
Planets
Dwarf planets
Minor planets
Stars (see sections below)
By luminosity / evolution
  • O (blue)
  • B (blue-white)
  • A (white)
  • F (yellow-white)
  • G (yellow)
  • K (orange)
  • M (red)
Systems
Stellar groupings
Galaxies
Discs and media
Cosmic scale

See also

References

  1. ^ Task Group on Astronomical Designations from IAU Commission 5 (April 2008). "Naming Astronomical Objects". International Astronomical Union (IAU). Archived from the original on 2 August 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2010. 
  2. ^ Narlikar, Jayant V. (1996). Elements of Cosmology. Universities Press.  
  3. ^ Smolin, Lee (1998). The life of the cosmos. Oxford University Press US. p. 35.  
  4. ^ Buta, Ronald James; Corwin, Harold G.; Odewahn, Stephen C. (2007). The de Vaucouleurs atlas of galaxies. Cambridge University Press. p. 301.  
  5. ^ Elmegreen, Bruce G. (January 2010). "The nature and nurture of star clusters". Star clusters: basic galactic building blocks throughout time and space, Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union, IAU Symposium 266. pp. 3–13.  
  6. ^ Hansen, Carl J.; Kawaler, Steven D.; Trimble, Virginia (2004). Stellar interiors: physical principles, structure, and evolution. Astronomy and astrophysics library (2nd ed.). Springer. p. 86.  

External links

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

  • SkyandTelescope.com SkyChart
  • Monthly skymaps for every location on Earth
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