1.
Tom Gehrels
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Anton M. J. Tom Gehrels was a Dutch–American astronomer, Professor of Planetary Sciences, and Astronomer at the University of Arizona, Tucson. Gehrels was born at Haarlemmermeer, the Netherlands on February 21,1925, during World War II he was, as a teenager, active in the Dutch Resistance. After he escaped to England, he was sent back by parachute as an organizer for Special Operations Executive SOE committing sabotage against the German forces, after the war, he attended the University of Leiden where he graduated with a degree in physics and astronomy in 1951. He continued his education at the University of Chicago where he obtained his doctorate in astronomy, in 1960, he moved to the University of Arizona along with Gerard Kuiper where he would remain for the next 50 years. The trio are jointly credited with several thousand discoveries, Gehrels also discovered a number of comets. He was Principal Investigator for the Imaging Photopolarimeter experiment on the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 first flybys of Jupiter and he also initiated the Spacewatch program in 1980 and was its Principal Investigator for electronic surveying to obtain statistics of asteroids and comets, including near-Earth asteroids. Bob McMillan was co-investigator and manager, and became the PI in 1997, Gehrels taught an undergraduate course for non-science majors in Tucson in the Fall, and lectured a brief version of that in the Spring at the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad, India. His recent research was on universal evolution, which was woven in as the thread through these courses. He was the winner of the 2007 Harold Masursky Award for his outstanding service to planetary science. Gehrels was requested by the Journal Nature to write a review on a book regarding Wernher von Braun and he has therefore charged that von Braun was there regularly and much in charge, and that von Braun bears greater responsibility and guilt than his official biography would imply. Towards the end of the review it reads, Von Braun needs no phony defense. What is needed is a more sophisticated historical perspective, Tom Gehrels was the husband of Aleida J. Gehrels and father of Neil Gehrels, George Gehrels and Jo-Ann Gehrels. The minor planet 1777 Gehrels was named in his honour, the professional and personal papers of Tom Gehrels are held at the University of Arizona. Special airborne services in Europe and Far East, 1944–1948, Astronomy and physics, Leiden University 1951. Ph. D. astronomy and astrophysics, Univ. of Chicago,1956, Professor of Planetary Sciences and Astronomy, Univ. of Arizona, 1961–2011. Binzel, Tom Gehrels, and Mildred Shapely Matthews Tucson, University of Arizona Press ISBN 0-8165-1123-3 Hazards Due to Comets and Asteroids, edited by Tom Gehrels, Mildred Shapley Matthews, and A

2.
Apsis
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An apsis is an extreme point in an objects orbit. The word comes via Latin from Greek and is cognate with apse, for elliptic orbits about a larger body, there are two apsides, named with the prefixes peri- and ap-, or apo- added to a reference to the thing being orbited. For a body orbiting the Sun, the point of least distance is the perihelion, the terms become periastron and apastron when discussing orbits around other stars. For any satellite of Earth including the Moon the point of least distance is the perigee, for objects in Lunar orbit, the point of least distance is the pericynthion and the greatest distance the apocynthion. For any orbits around a center of mass, there are the terms pericenter and apocenter, periapsis and apoapsis are equivalent alternatives. A straight line connecting the pericenter and apocenter is the line of apsides and this is the major axis of the ellipse, its greatest diameter. For a two-body system the center of mass of the lies on this line at one of the two foci of the ellipse. When one body is larger than the other it may be taken to be at this focus. Historically, in systems, apsides were measured from the center of the Earth. In orbital mechanics, the apsis technically refers to the distance measured between the centers of mass of the central and orbiting body. However, in the case of spacecraft, the family of terms are used to refer to the orbital altitude of the spacecraft from the surface of the central body. The arithmetic mean of the two limiting distances is the length of the axis a. The geometric mean of the two distances is the length of the semi-minor axis b, the geometric mean of the two limiting speeds is −2 ε = μ a which is the speed of a body in a circular orbit whose radius is a. The words pericenter and apocenter are often seen, although periapsis/apoapsis are preferred in technical usage, various related terms are used for other celestial objects. The -gee, -helion and -astron and -galacticon forms are used in the astronomical literature when referring to the Earth, Sun, stars. The suffix -jove is occasionally used for Jupiter, while -saturnium has very rarely used in the last 50 years for Saturn. The -gee form is used as a generic closest approach to planet term instead of specifically applying to the Earth. During the Apollo program, the terms pericynthion and apocynthion were used when referring to the Moon, regarding black holes, the term peri/apomelasma was used by physicist Geoffrey A. Landis in 1998 before peri/aponigricon appeared in the scientific literature in 2002

3.
Semi-major and semi-minor axes
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In geometry, the major axis of an ellipse is its longest diameter, a line segment that runs through the center and both foci, with ends at the widest points of the perimeter. The semi-major axis is one half of the axis, and thus runs from the centre, through a focus. Essentially, it is the radius of an orbit at the two most distant points. For the special case of a circle, the axis is the radius. One can think of the axis as an ellipses long radius. The semi-major axis of a hyperbola is, depending on the convention, thus it is the distance from the center to either vertex of the hyperbola. A parabola can be obtained as the limit of a sequence of ellipses where one focus is fixed as the other is allowed to move arbitrarily far away in one direction. Thus a and b tend to infinity, a faster than b, the semi-minor axis is a line segment associated with most conic sections that is at right angles with the semi-major axis and has one end at the center of the conic section. It is one of the axes of symmetry for the curve, in an ellipse, the one, in a hyperbola. The semi-major axis is the value of the maximum and minimum distances r max and r min of the ellipse from a focus — that is. In astronomy these extreme points are called apsis, the semi-minor axis of an ellipse is the geometric mean of these distances, b = r max r min. The eccentricity of an ellipse is defined as e =1 − b 2 a 2 so r min = a, r max = a. Now consider the equation in polar coordinates, with one focus at the origin, the mean value of r = ℓ / and r = ℓ /, for θ = π and θ =0 is a = ℓ1 − e 2. In an ellipse, the axis is the geometric mean of the distance from the center to either focus. The semi-minor axis of an ellipse runs from the center of the ellipse to the edge of the ellipse, the semi-minor axis is half of the minor axis. The minor axis is the longest line segment perpendicular to the axis that connects two points on the ellipses edge. The semi-minor axis b is related to the axis a through the eccentricity e. A parabola can be obtained as the limit of a sequence of ellipses where one focus is fixed as the other is allowed to move arbitrarily far away in one direction

4.
Astronomical unit
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The astronomical unit is a unit of length, roughly the distance from Earth to the Sun. However, that varies as Earth orbits the Sun, from a maximum to a minimum. Originally conceived as the average of Earths aphelion and perihelion, it is now defined as exactly 149597870700 metres, the astronomical unit is used primarily as a convenient yardstick for measuring distances within the Solar System or around other stars. However, it is also a component in the definition of another unit of astronomical length. A variety of symbols and abbreviations have been in use for the astronomical unit. In a 1976 resolution, the International Astronomical Union used the symbol A for the astronomical unit, in 2006, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures recommended ua as the symbol for the unit. In 2012, the IAU, noting that various symbols are presently in use for the astronomical unit, in the 2014 revision of the SI Brochure, the BIPM used the unit symbol au. In ISO 80000-3, the symbol of the unit is ua. Earths orbit around the Sun is an ellipse, the semi-major axis of this ellipse is defined to be half of the straight line segment that joins the aphelion and perihelion. The centre of the sun lies on this line segment. In addition, it mapped out exactly the largest straight-line distance that Earth traverses over the course of a year, knowing Earths shift and a stars shift enabled the stars distance to be calculated. But all measurements are subject to some degree of error or uncertainty, improvements in precision have always been a key to improving astronomical understanding. Improving measurements were continually checked and cross-checked by means of our understanding of the laws of celestial mechanics, the expected positions and distances of objects at an established time are calculated from these laws, and assembled into a collection of data called an ephemeris. NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory provides one of several ephemeris computation services, in 1976, in order to establish a yet more precise measure for the astronomical unit, the IAU formally adopted a new definition. Equivalently, by definition, one AU is the radius of an unperturbed circular Newtonian orbit about the sun of a particle having infinitesimal mass. As with all measurements, these rely on measuring the time taken for photons to be reflected from an object. However, for precision the calculations require adjustment for such as the motions of the probe. In addition, the measurement of the time itself must be translated to a scale that accounts for relativistic time dilation

5.
Orbital eccentricity
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The orbital eccentricity of an astronomical object is a parameter that determines the amount by which its orbit around another body deviates from a perfect circle. A value of 0 is an orbit, values between 0 and 1 form an elliptical orbit,1 is a parabolic escape orbit. The term derives its name from the parameters of conic sections and it is normally used for the isolated two-body problem, but extensions exist for objects following a rosette orbit through the galaxy. In a two-body problem with inverse-square-law force, every orbit is a Kepler orbit, the eccentricity of this Kepler orbit is a non-negative number that defines its shape. The limit case between an ellipse and a hyperbola, when e equals 1, is parabola, radial trajectories are classified as elliptic, parabolic, or hyperbolic based on the energy of the orbit, not the eccentricity. Radial orbits have zero angular momentum and hence eccentricity equal to one, keeping the energy constant and reducing the angular momentum, elliptic, parabolic, and hyperbolic orbits each tend to the corresponding type of radial trajectory while e tends to 1. For a repulsive force only the trajectory, including the radial version, is applicable. For elliptical orbits, a simple proof shows that arcsin yields the projection angle of a circle to an ellipse of eccentricity e. For example, to view the eccentricity of the planet Mercury, next, tilt any circular object by that angle and the apparent ellipse projected to your eye will be of that same eccentricity. From Medieval Latin eccentricus, derived from Greek ἔκκεντρος ekkentros out of the center, from ἐκ- ek-, eccentric first appeared in English in 1551, with the definition a circle in which the earth, sun. Five years later, in 1556, a form of the word was added. The eccentricity of an orbit can be calculated from the state vectors as the magnitude of the eccentricity vector, e = | e | where. For elliptical orbits it can also be calculated from the periapsis and apoapsis since rp = a and ra = a, where a is the semimajor axis. E = r a − r p r a + r p =1 −2 r a r p +1 where, rp is the radius at periapsis. For Earths annual orbit path, ra/rp ratio = longest_radius / shortest_radius ≈1.034 relative to center point of path, the eccentricity of the Earths orbit is currently about 0.0167, the Earths orbit is nearly circular. Venus and Neptune have even lower eccentricity, over hundreds of thousands of years, the eccentricity of the Earths orbit varies from nearly 0.0034 to almost 0.058 as a result of gravitational attractions among the planets. The table lists the values for all planets and dwarf planets, Mercury has the greatest orbital eccentricity of any planet in the Solar System. Such eccentricity is sufficient for Mercury to receive twice as much solar irradiation at perihelion compared to aphelion, before its demotion from planet status in 2006, Pluto was considered to be the planet with the most eccentric orbit

6.
Day
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In common usage, it is either an interval equal to 24 hours or daytime, the consecutive period of time during which the Sun is above the horizon. The period of time during which the Earth completes one rotation with respect to the Sun is called a solar day, several definitions of this universal human concept are used according to context, need and convenience. In 1960, the second was redefined in terms of the motion of the Earth. The unit of measurement day, redefined in 1960 as 86400 SI seconds and symbolized d, is not an SI unit, but is accepted for use with SI. The word day may also refer to a day of the week or to a date, as in answer to the question. The life patterns of humans and many species are related to Earths solar day. In recent decades the average length of a day on Earth has been about 86400.002 seconds. A day, understood as the span of time it takes for the Earth to make one rotation with respect to the celestial background or a distant star, is called a stellar day. This period of rotation is about 4 minutes less than 24 hours, mainly due to tidal effects, the Earths rotational period is not constant, resulting in further minor variations for both solar days and stellar days. Other planets and moons have stellar and solar days of different lengths to Earths, besides the day of 24 hours, the word day is used for several different spans of time based on the rotation of the Earth around its axis. An important one is the day, defined as the time it takes for the Sun to return to its culmination point. Because the Earth orbits the Sun elliptically as the Earth spins on an inclined axis, on average over the year this day is equivalent to 24 hours. A day, in the sense of daytime that is distinguished from night-time, is defined as the period during which sunlight directly reaches the ground. The length of daytime averages slightly more than half of the 24-hour day, two effects make daytime on average longer than nights. The Sun is not a point, but has an apparent size of about 32 minutes of arc, additionally, the atmosphere refracts sunlight in such a way that some of it reaches the ground even when the Sun is below the horizon by about 34 minutes of arc. So the first light reaches the ground when the centre of the Sun is still below the horizon by about 50 minutes of arc, the difference in time depends on the angle at which the Sun rises and sets, but can amount to around seven minutes. Ancient custom has a new day start at either the rising or setting of the Sun on the local horizon, the exact moment of, and the interval between, two sunrises or sunsets depends on the geographical position, and the time of year. A more constant day can be defined by the Sun passing through the local meridian, the exact moment is dependent on the geographical longitude, and to a lesser extent on the time of the year